There are several species of bats found in Virginia. The most common bat in Virginia is the little brown bat. Other species include the big brown bat, the Mexican free-tailed bat, the silver-haired bat, and the beloved state bat, the Virginia Big-eared bat! Although all of these species are important to the ecosystem and play a role in controlling insect populations, let’s take a closer look at our state bat by reviewing some interesting facts about them!
Facts About the Virginia Big-Eared Bat
The Virginia Big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus) is a medium-sized bat, with adults measuring 4.5-5.7 cm (1.8-2.2 in) in body length and 7-9 cm (2.8-3.5 in) in wingspan. The fur on the back is brown or black, while the belly is paler. As its name suggests, this bat has large, conspicuous ears.
This bat is found in a variety of habitats, including forests, caves, and mines. It is a forest Dependent species, meaning that it requires forested habitat to survive. The Virginia Big-eared bat typically roosts alone or in small groups. It is known to form maternity colonies of up to 100 individuals.
As an insectivore, it primarily feeds on moths, but also mosquitos, gnats, flies, grasshoppers, and more. Like all other microbats, our state bat uses echolocation to locate its prey and navigate with heightened precision in the dark of night.
Fun Facts About All Bats
Bats are nocturnal creatures, so they are most active at night. During the day, they roost in trees, caves, and other dark places. Bats are very good flyers and can travel long distances in search of food.
Most bats eat insects. They use their sharp teeth to bite through the exoskeleton of their prey. Bats have a very good sense of smell and can locate their prey by following the scent of the insects.
Bats are important to the ecosystem because they help control the population of insects. Without bats, there would be more mosquitoes, beetles, and other pests. Bats eat millions of insects every night!
How to Support Local Bat Populations
There are several things you can do to help bats. One way is to provide a roosting site for them. You can do this by putting up a bat house in your yard. Another way to help bats is to avoid using pesticides and insecticides. These chemicals can kill the insects that bats eat.
If you see a bat during the day, it is probably sick or injured. Bats are very susceptible to diseases, so it is important not to handle them. If you find a sick or injured bat, please contact your local wildlife rehabilitator for help.
Although it can be argued that all bats have big ears relative to their body size, there are a few bat species that really set the bar high. Here in Virginia, three big-eared bat species in particular are native to the region, and with great luck, spotted out in nature from time to time. What are these bats? Why are they special? Great questions!
Continue reading to learn some interesting and important facts about the Northern Long-Eared Bat, Rafinesque’s Big-Eared Bat, and our state bat, the Virginia Big-Eared bat!
Big Ears No Tears
The bigger the ears the better; right? For Microchiroptera bats across the world, it is! Microbat species have an enlarged tragus in their ears that help them focus sound (some bats have this growth on their nose, like the Leaf-Nose bat). They have excellent hearing, as they are able to hear vocalizations of other bats from far away and at extremely high frequencies, between 14,000 and 100,000 hertz. Humans have a general hearing range of 20,000 hertz, just for reference.
So, all in all, bats are not apologetic for their big, old ears! They need them to communicate with other bats, hunt for prey, and much more! The most famous bats with large ears are the Northern Long-Eared Bat, Rafinesque’s Big-Eared Bat, and Virginia Big-Eared bat. Below you will find the most interesting facts about each species, including their scientific name and classification, diet, habitat, range, and endangerment status.
🦇 Northern Long-Eared Bat
The Northern Long-Eared bat is scientifically called Myotisseptentrionalis.
As a microbat species, the Northern Long-Eared bat maintains an insectivorous diet consisting mostly of moths, flies, caddisflies, beetles, and even spiders. Unlike many other microbats, rather than preying on their meals mid-flight, the Northern Long-Eared bat uses a unique hunting method known as gleaning. Basically, they stick close to the tree lines and snatch up their prey directly from twigs, branches, and leaves.
You can usually find colonies of Northern Long-Eared bats in most regions of Virginia. Here in the state, they have taken liking to dams and mines for shelter. They also roost in caves and rocky crevices. They are not solitary, and often roost with other bat species, like Indiana bats and Little Brown bats.
Northern Long-Eared bats look much like Little Brown bats, in fact. But they have long ears that look like a rabbit that measure an average of a half an inch to 0.7 inches in length. They weigh an average of 3 ounces, which is similar to other regional bat species.
Northern Long-Eared bats are not endangered, but they are unfortunately a species that has been affected by White-Nose Syndrome. This fungal disease is one of the biggest and most impactful threats to this species.
🦇 Rafinesque’s Big-Eared Bat
The Rafinesque’s Big-Eared bat is scientifically referred to as Corynorhinus rafinesquii.
The Rafinesque’s Big-Eared bat is a microbat species found mostly in the bottomland hardwoods and swamps in the Coastal Plain regions of Virginia. They are typically found roosting in hollow trees or in caves but will also take up shelter in rock crevices and old buildings. Rafinesque’s Big-Eared bat colonies in the appellation Mountains prefer roosting in caves, but it really just depends on the geographic location of the colony.
When it comes to diet, Rafinesque’s Big-Eared bats our insectivores like most other microbats. Their preferred meal is moths, but they also like to eat beetles and other flying insects.
The Rafinesque’s Big-Eared bat has bigger ears than the Northern Long-Eared bat, coming in at 1.25 inches in length. They also have long, soft, bi-colored fur, making them quite the stunning bat. In fact, they look so similar to our state bat, that they are often confused for one another.
Unfortunately, Rafinesque’s Big-Eared bats are a state endangered bat and currently on the conservation list. The loss and degradation of their natural habitats is a top cause of the declining Rafinesque’s Big-Eared bat population.
🦇 Virginia Big-Eared Bat
The Virginia Big-Eared bat is scientifically named Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus.
As our beloved state bat, the Virginia Big-Eared bat is an important bat species. They are not native to the entirety of the state, but rather in short ranges within West Virginia. They do not commonly travel outside of 20 mile radius from their roosts, although some have been found to travel 40 miles outside of their primary colony location when traveling between winter and summer roosts.
Virginia Big-Eared bats mostly roost in caves or along bodies of water in large rock crevices. It really just depends on the level of access and the season.
The Virginia Big-Eared bat has a very similar insectivorous diet to their pseudo-twin, the Rafinesque’s Big-Eared bat, eating mostly moths. Virginia Big-Eared bats will also eat other insects, like flies, beetles, grasshoppers, and even wasps.
As for their ears, they maintain their status as the pseudo-twin to the Rafinesque’s Big-Eared bat, with their large ears measuring in at 1.25 inches just the same.
Unfortunately, not only is the Virginia Big-Eared bat state-endangered, but they are also federally endangered. One of the top threats to the decline of their populations is
Well, there you have it; the top bat species in Virginia with big, long ears! Do your part to support bat conservation efforts by sealing your home properly against bat intrusions, plus protecting local bat populations by vaccinating your pets and even setting up some bat houses on your property!
Never, under any circumstances, attempt to touch, trap, catch, harm, or kill a bat. If you have a bat in the house, in the yard, or bats in the attic, contact a local and trusted wildlife critter control company for emergency bat removal services. They have the proper licensing, permits, training, and resources to remove bats and control their activity in and around your property.
The Virginia Big-Eared bat is one of three federally-listed endangered species of bat in Virginia. In fact, it has been categorized as endangered since 1979 by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. There are several interesting facts about the Virginia Big-Eared bat species, adding more reason to keep these precious critters protected and preserved.
Continue reading to learn more about the Virginia Big-Eared bat, and what to do if you suspect you are having nuisance bat issues around your property.
Scientific Classification for the Virginia Big-Eared Bat
The Virginia Big-Eared bat is indeed our state bat! It is part of the Animalia kingdom, Chordata phylum, Mammalia class, and Chiroptera order. Their scientific name, Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus, is derived from their genus (Corynorhinus), species (C. townsendii), and subspecies (C. t. virginianus).
This special species is distinguishable by its large ears, which can reach lengths of 2.5 centimeters or more. When resting, their ears reach back to half the length of their body! In addition to their most distinguishable trait, these mammals have long, soft, brown fur that ranges in shade depending on their age.
Weighing and average of 7 to 12 grams (0.25 to 0.42 ounces), it is one of the largest Microchiroptera species in its range. With rounded muzzle and elongated nostrils, the Virginia Big-Eared bat can grow to 98 millimeters (3.85 inches) long by adult hood.
The VBE bat usually mates in the fall and winter. Females actually store the male’s sperm until they begin ovulation, which generally occurs in late winter or early spring. Females have a gestation period of 3 months, and give birth to only one baby, called a “pup.”
The pup stay with the mother for up to 8 weeks, in which time they are fully-developed and capable of flight. These bats generally roost in caves, where they also hibernate for the winter. Because they prefer it, they are mostly found in mountainous limestone caves surrounded by forest with oak and hickory trees.
Although they are called the Virginia Big-Eared bat, they are not just native to Virginia. They are also found in states like Kentucky and North Carolina. The Virginia Big-Eared bat species is not a migratory one; they stay in their caves all year, whether hibernating or not.
They only leave to hunt for food at night, which they do with the help of their amazing sonar abilities called echolocation. Bats see quite well, opposed to common belief, and only use their echolocation abilities to better dart and dive for insects. They are nocturnal, so it also improves their night-time navigational skills.
If you are experiencing wildlife problems with bats, on or around your property, it is vital to contact a licensed Richmond VA bat control company for safe, humane, and non-lethal critter abatement services. Never attempt to trap, touch, harm, or kill a bat under any circumstances. This is also important since you never know if it is a federally-protected species.
Are you dealing with persistent nuisance bat problems? Do you suspect that you might have a bat infestation in the house?Contact Virginia Bat Pros at 804-729-9097 for prompt and professional bat removal and control you can afford. We serve residential and commercial clients.
There are two primary suborders that all bats can be categorized in depending on their particular biologics and physiognomies. These suborders are Microchiroptera and Megachiroptera. Continue reading to learn about them both, and the attributes that set them apart.
Megachiroptera – Fruit Bat
Classification of Bats
Bats are part of the Animal Kingdom, and further broken down into narrower classifications, including the Chordata Phylum, Mammalia Class, and of course, the Chiroptera Order. Within the Chirptera Order, bats are categorized into one of two suborders: Microchiroptera and Megachiroptera. Also referred to as microbats and megabats, these suborders are quite different in size, diet, habitat, and more.
Microchiroptera – Microbats
Microchiroptera bats are small, echolocating bats that maintain an insectivorous diet, with the exception of Vampire Bat species, which retain a dietary trait called hemotophagy, and consumes small droplets of blood on livestock like cows, horses, sheep, and goats. Other than Vampire Bats, microbats primarily eat a wide variety of insects, including moths, flies, mosquitos, grasshoppers, dragonflies, crickets, beetles, termites, ants, and more. It is rare, but some larger species of microbat hunt birds, lizards, frogs, smaller bats, or even fish. They generally roost in trees, caves, abandoned mines, and buildings in forested or wooded areas that are near bodies of water. Microbats make up the nuisance bat populations in our area of the country, with 9 species of bat native to Virginia.
In appearance, microbats are much smaller than megabats. They have much smaller bodies and smaller eyes, but they are not blind. They can see quite well, and use their echolocating abilities to better dive and dart for prey. Microbats also lack the claw at the second finger of the forelimb. As for ears, microbats have larger ears that retain a tragus, which is thought to aid in echolocation. Megabats have small ears and no tragus, but large visual cortexes that allow them to see well.
Megachiroptera – Megabats
Megachiroptera bats only includes one family, Pteropodidae, but can be further narrowed into 7 Subfamilies, including Nyctimeninae, Cynopterinae, Harpiyonycterinae, Macroglossinae, Pteropodinae, Rousettinae, and Epomophorinae, and 166 different species. Also known as megabats, old world fruit bats, and simply, fruit bats, Megachiroptera is a significantly different suborder of bats compared to Microchiroptera. They are much larger in size, and live in tropical and subtropical climates. The most significant difference is that they do not possess echolocation abilities, nor do they eat insects.
Instead, megabats have large eyes and have great vision. Furthermore, they maintain nectarivores and frugivorous diets that primarily consist of plant material, such as fruit, nectar, or pollen. Megabats make their homes in trees, shrubs, and sometimes caves located near edges of water. They play an integral role in the surrounding ecosystem because they help to spread seeds and pollen through feeding and elimination.
Virginia Bat Removal and Control
Virginia Bat Removal and Control 804-729-9097
Call Virginia Bat Pros at 804-729-9097 for safe and humane bat removal and control assistance in Old Dominion. We serve all of Virginia, including Richmond, Petersburg, Short Pump, Lynchburg, Charlottesville, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Newport News, Virginia Beach, and all of their surrounding areas. We offer 24 hour bat removal, as well as, numerous residential and commercial bat exclusion services, such as bat cleanup and restorations for bat damages. We even provide insurance work! Contact us today for a free estimate.