Bats – Native to Kentucky

Bats Native to Kentucky

Rafinesque’s big-eared bat (Corynorhinus rafinequii)

Silver haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans)

Seminole bat (Lasiurus seminolus)

Little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus)

Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis)

Virginia big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus)

Red bat (Lasiurus borealis)

Gray bat (Myotis grisescens)

Eastern small-footed myotis (Myotis leibii)

Evening bat (Nycticeius humeralis)

Big brown bat (Eptesicius fuscus)

Hoary bat (Lasiurus cenereus)

Southeastern myotis (Myotis austroriparius)

Northern bat (Myotis septentrionalis)

Eastern pipistrelle (Pipistrellus subflavus)

Rafinesque’s Big-Eared Bat

Conservation Status:

Least concern

Size:

Medium sized bat at about 4 inches and the wingspan is about 11 inches.

Diet:

Insectivore

Info:

• One of two bats in Kentucky with large ears.

• A year-round resident in Kentucky.

• Most hibernate in caves singularly and some will in clusters of 100 or more.

• Pups (baby bats) are born in late May to June. They are capable of flight by mid-July.

• None have been documented with white-nose syndrome, though they have tested positive for the fungus that causes it.

Silver Haired Bat

Conservation Status:

No concern

Size:

Medium sized bat at about 4 inches and the wingspan is about 11 ½ inches.

Diet:

Insectivore

Info:

• Has short ears.

• They occurs primarily as a transient species. Males have been recorded in summer and winter.

• They are primarily a forest bat.

• Pups are born after a 50 to 60 day gestation period.

• None have been documented with white-nose syndrome, but have been positive for the fungus that causes it.

Seminole Bat

Conservation Status:

Least concern

Size:

Medium sized bat at about 4 ½ inches and the wingspan is about 12 inches.

Diet:

Insectivore

Info:

• Fur is typically rich, mahogany brown, tipped with white

• The first documented record in 1998, there are less than two dozen records of this southern bat from KY.

• During breeding season, females and juveniles have been found in the western part of the state, mostly in the Land Between the Lakes and Mammoth Cave area.

• No winter occurrences have been documented.

Little Brown Bat

Conservation Status:

Least concern

Size:

Small to medium sized bat at about 3 ½ inches and the wingspan of about 10 inches.

Diet:

Insectivore

Info:

• Occurs throughout Kentucky

• Each female births a single pup in June.

• Some males roost with the females, but most roost separately.

• Main threat is white-nosed syndrome caused by a “cold-loving” fungus.

Indiana Bat

Conservation Status:

Endangered

Size:

Small to medium sized bat at about 3-3 ½ inches and a wingspan of about 10 inches.

Diet:

Insectivore

Info:

• Found throughout Kentucky

• They mate in the fall, and they hibernate in October.

• Females store the sperm over the winter, females emerge from hibernation and are pregnant in late March and early April.

• Females migrate to summer habitats before the males.

• Their newest threat is white-nosed syndrome. Another threat is pesticides and second-hand poisoning.

Virginia Big-Eared Bat

Conservation Status:

Endangered

Size:

Medium sized bat at about 3 ½ to 4 inches and a wingspan of about 12 inches.

Diet:

Insectivore

Info:

• Has large ears and two large lumps (glands) on the muzzle.

• Difference from Rafinesque’s big-eared bat is that Virginia big-eared bat had shorter toe hairs.

• They are a nonmigratory bat.

• Similar to the other bats, birthing takes place after hibernation (they store the sperm through winter).

• They have not been documented with white-nose syndrome but tested positive for the fungus that causes it.

Red Bat

Conservation Status:

Least concern

Size:

One of Kentucky’s larger bats, that are about 4 ¾ inches and a wingspan of about 13 inches.

Diet:

Insectivore

Info:

• Orangish in color.

• Found throughout Kentucky.

• Females birth 1-4 pups in late May and early June.

Gray Bat

Conservation Status:

Endangered

Size:

Medium sized bat at about 4 inches

Diet:

Insectivore (Mayflies make up most of their diet.)

Info:

• Maternity colonies are concentrated in the Pennyroyal region.

• Males and non-reproductive females gather in smaller groups to form “bachelor colonies”.

• A single pup is born in late May or early June, the young begin to fly 20 to 25 days after birth.

• Found in caves year-round in Kentucky.

• They are susceptible to white-nose syndrome.

Eastern Small-Footed Myotis

Conservation Status:

Threatened

Size:

One of Kentucky’s two smallest bats and the smallest member of the genus Myotis at about 3 inches.

They weigh about the same as a nickel and a wingspan of less than 9 inches.

Diet:

Insectivore

Info:

• So little is known about this species

• They are susceptible to white-nose syndrome

Evening Bat

Conservation Status:

Special concern

Size:

Medium sized bat at about 4 inches and a wingspan of about 10 ½ inches.

Very similar to the big brown bat.

Diet:

Insectivore

Info:

• They are relatively common only in the western third of Kentucky.

• The tend to roost in hollow trees.

• They typically have 2 pups born each June and capable of flight within a few weeks.

• Their biggest threat is logging activities.

Big Brown Bat

Conservation Status:

Very Common

Size:

One of Kentucky’s largest bats at about 5 inches and a wingspan of more than 13 inches.

Diet:

Insectivore

Info:

• They have a glossy brown color.

• They are a year-round resident of Kentucky and occur statewide.

• They are susceptible to white-nose syndrome.

Hoary Bat

Conservation Status:

Least concern

Size:

One of Kentucky’s largest bat at about 5 ½ inches and a wingspan of nearly 16 inches.

Diet:

Insectivore

Info:

• They are the most widespread of all-American bats.

• They typically roost solitary year-round.

Southeastern Myotis

Conservation Status:

Endangered

Size:

Medium sized bat at about 3 ½ to 4 inches and a wingspan of about 10 inches.

Diet:

Insectivore

Info:

• They have a pinkish nose and long toe hairs.

• Can be found regularly and only in the western half of Kentucky.

• The young take 2 to 3 weeks longer to develop than most of Kentucky’s other bat species.

• They are susceptible to white-nose syndrome.

Northern Bat

Conservation Status:

Least concern

Size:

Medium sized bat at about 3 ½ to 4 inches and a wingspan of about 9 ½ inches.

Diet:

Insectivore

Info:

• They are very similar to the little brown bat.

• They are present year-round.

Eastern Pipistrelle

Conservation Status:

Special concern

Size:

One of Kentucky’s 2 smallest bats, barely reaches about 3 ½ inches with a wingspan at just over 9 inches.

Diet:

Insectivore

Info:

–  They are tri-colored—gray, tan, and dark-tipped

–  They occur commonly across Kentucky in the summer and during migration.

Extra Facts About Bats:

• There are no bats that drink blood in the United states. Vampire bats (three species) feed solely on blood. They once were native to the US, fossils were found in California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, and other states. The Common Vampire Bat is pushing new territory in both North and South America. They have been documented within about 30 miles of Texas.

• Bats in the United States are insectivorous except the three flower eating species that migrate from Mexico

• A bat’s tragus is a key feature in identifying its species. A tragus sits in front of the ear canal. It allows for echolocation.

• Bats are not blind. Many species can see as well as any other mammal. But many use echolocation to get around and catch prey.

• Bats are not flying rodents. They are more closely related to primates.