Bats in New Mexico

Western Small-footed Bat

WESTERN SMALL-FOOTED BAT - Myotis ciliolabrum

Weight: 4-6 grams.

Wingspan: 21-25 centimeters.

Distribution: Southern British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan to the southwestern United States.

Ecology and Behavior: The western small-footed bat usually is found in arid habitats where it is associated with cliffs, talus fields, and, in the prairies, with clay buttes and steep riverbanks. This species roosts in crevices in rock faces and clay banks, it may use the spaces beneath and between boulders in talus fields, and it also has been found roosting beneath bark and in barns. The western small-footed bat begins its nightly activity at dusk short­ly after sunset with peaks of activity between 2200 and 2300 hours and 0100 and 0200 hours. It flies slowly and erratically as it forages at heights of 1-3 meters (3-10 feet) along cliffs and rocky slopes, and it may forage over water when not in association with the California bat, which usually hunts over and near water. In British Columbia, the proportions of different species of prey taken by the western small-footed bat and the California bat are similar. It appears that these species co-exist by spatial partitioning of the available food resource. Hibernation sites include caves and mines.

Food Habits: Foods consist of small insects, including flies, beetles, and moths.

Reproduction: Usually, one baby is born in June.

Status of Populations: May be locally common.

Thanks to T. L. Best, J. S. Altenbach, and M. J. Harvey for permission to reprint portions of Bats of the Western United States, 1998.

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