Page 146 - A Field Guide to Fairfax County's Plants and Wildlife
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tle Brown Bat

(Myotis lucifugus)


These bats are smaller than
a human thumb! The average
length is 85 to 98 millimeters with a wingspan of 22 to 27 millimeters. Their
bodies and wings are dark brown; their undersides are paler. Females are
slightly larger than males. Little Brown Bats are active mainly at night. The
mating season is in late summer to early fall. Females give birth to one baby
(called a pup). At first, females carry their newborns with them while they hunt.
Once pups are older, their mothers leave them behind. Pups can fly at about
three weeks old, and become independent at around four weeks. In winter
when insects are unavailable, bats enter hibernation, a kind of suspended
animation during which their heart rate and breathing slow down dramatically.
This deep sleep helps reduce wear and tear on their tiny bodies.

Distribution and Habitat

Bats use a kind of sonar called Little Brown Bats are found in all

echolocation to find their prey. five physiographic provinces except

for the far southeast corner of the

Bats are not blind, nor do they care Coastal Plain province. These bats

about getting in people’s hair. live together in colonies and have

two kinds of dwellings: summer

roosts and winter hibernation sites.

Summer roosts are often in man-

made structures like old barns, abandoned buildings and large chimneys,

usually near water. They hibernate in caves or abandoned mines where

temperatures remain stable.

Role in Food Web

Little Brown Bats like to feed over water and eat huge numbers of mosquitos,
midges, mayflies and other aquatic insects. Each individual may consume
up to 3,000 insects a night! Moths are also important (so they often feed
around porches, sports fields and other man-made light sources). Their main
predators are carnivorous birds, other mammalian predators, snakes, frogs
and even large spiders!

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