Bats in New Mexico

Eastern Red Bat EASTERN RED BAT - Lasiurus borealis

Weight: 9-15 grams.

Wingspan: 28-33 centimeters.

Distribution: Southern Canada, the eastern United States (except the Florida peninsula), northeastern Mexico.

Ecology and Behavior: Eastern red bats spend daylight hours hanging in foliage of trees. They usually hang by one foot, giving them the appearance of dead leaves. Although these bats seldom enter caves for any distance, they often swarm about cave entrances in autumn. In colder parts of their range, they migrate south in winter or hibernate in hollow trees or leaf litter. These bats are almost completely furred, except for the ears and parts of the wings, and they can respond to subfreezing temperatures by increasing their metabolism. Predators include several kinds of birds, especially blue jays. Eastern red bats emerge early in the evening, and often fly on warm winter afternoons. They forage regularly over the same territory on successive nights, and they commonly feed beneath street lights.

Food Habits: Eastern red bats consume moths, crickets, flies, mosquitoes, true bugs, beetles, cicadas, and other insects.

Reproduction: Eastern red bats mate in flight during August and September, sperm are stored over winter, and females give birth to one to four babies (average is 3.2 babies) during late spring or early summer. Babies are born hairless, with the eyes closed, and they cling to the fur of their mother with their teeth, thumbs and feet.

Status of Populations:
Common throughout most of its range.

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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