Lasiurus cinereus (Hoary Bat)

Weight: 25-30 grams

Wingspan: 34-41 centimeters


The most widespread bat in the Americas, occurring in most of southern Canada and southward through most of South America. It also occurs in Hawaii (where it is the only native land mammal), Iceland, Bermuda, and the Dominican Republic.

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Ecology and Behavior:

These are large, heavily furred bats. They spend summer days concealed in the foliage of trees, where they choose a leafy site well-covered above, but open from beneath, generally 3-5 meters (10-17 feet) above the ground, and usually at the edge of a clearing. In late summer, they may wander into caves; many of these never find their way out. Because they rarely enter houses, spend the daylight hours well concealed, and generally are rare, they seldom are encountered by humans. Northern populations make long seasonal migrations to and from warmer winter habitats. The sexes apparently are segregated throughout most of the summer range; males are uncommon in the eastern United States at this time. Hoary bats may fly during late afternoon on warm days in winter. Their swift and direct flight pattern and large size make them readily identifiable on the wing in most parts of the range.

Food Habits:

Moths, true bugs, mosquitos, other insects, and occasionally other bats may be captured as food.

Reproduction and Longevity:

Hoary bats bear two babies in mid-May, June, or early July. The young cling to the mother through the day, but are left clinging to a twig or leaf while she forages at night.

Status of Populations:

Common throughout most of North America.

Text, in its original form, provided by T. L. Best, M. J. Harvey, and J. S. Altenbach. Printed spectrographs provided by M. J. O'Farrell. Distribution maps, call descriptions, and AnaMusic sound clips produced by W. L. Gannon. Accounts assembled by T. C. Sanchez-Brown.