Little Brown Myotis

Myotis lucifugus

Little Brown Myotis

Appearance

The Little brown myotis, as the name implies, is a little bat. The adults weigh only eight grams and are about nine centimetres long. Their wings are membranes of skin which they use for flying, crawling, catching prey and grooming. Their ears are very large compared to the size of their head.

Range & Habitat

Little brown myotis’ live in a wide range of habitats, from northern and coastal forests to grasslands and pine forests. They use two different roosts: one for resting and one for sleeping. They will roost in trees, buildings or caves. In the winter, the little brown myotis finds a frost-free place to hibernate, such as a cave, cellar, or unoccupied building.

Diet & Behaviour

They feed during dusk and dawn. During the summer, they will consume about half of their body weight in moths, beetles, mosquitoes and flies. This allows them to put on body fat so they can survive the cold months of hibernation. Bats have good eyesight but they use echolocation for hunting. This is done by emitting sounds which echo off of prey, allowing bats to locate and grab their dinner in mid-air.

Lifecycle & Threats

Females have one to two offspring once per year, in June or July. The young (pup) may weigh as much as 30 per cent of the mother’s weight! The pup hangs onto the mother for the first three or four days, even when she is searching for food. They are able to fly on their own in about three weeks. Loss of habitat and disturbance from humans are the greatest threats to the little brown bat. They have adapted to roosting in buildings, as fewer caves and trees are available. Humans sometimes have problems sharing space with bats, and this can lead to the use of poisons or disturbance of bats during their winter hibernation.

Status

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

More Information

www.animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu

Photo: J N Stuart