Hoary bats are found across the Americas. They are able hunters and can travel up to 39 km during their forages.
Hoary Bat Scientific Classification
Table Of Content
Size: Hoary bats are usually 5.1-5.7 inches (13-14.5 cm) long.
Weight: They weigh around 0.92 ounces (26 g).
Wingspan: The wingspan is 15.5 inches (40 cm).
Color: Their body is covered with thick dark brown hair which is tipped with white.
Sexual Dimorphism: Females are slightly larger than males.
They live in the countries of Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Uruguay, Central Chile, Paraguay, Central Argentina, Brazil, Hawaii, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Galapagos Islands, United States and Canada.
Hoary bats inhabit dense forests, open forested glades, edges of forest clearings, coniferous forests, deserts, tropical forests and broadleaf forests.
There are three subspecies of the hoary bat:
- Lasiurus cinereus cinereus
- L.c. semotus
- L.c. villosissimus
- They sleep during the day and become active during the night.
- Most hoary bats are migratory and travel south during winter in North America. However, some northern populations remain in their native region and hibernate through the winter season.
- During their return to North America, females start their flight a month before the males.
- They are solitary and form groups only during migration and the mating season.
Hoary bats primarily feed on moths. They also eat beetles, small wasps, flies, grasshoppers, dragonflies, and termites. They may also rarely feed on grass, leaves, eastern pipistrelles and snakeskin.
Mating & Reproduction
They usually mate during their autumn migration or at their wintering regions. Fertilization takes place a long time after copulation, around spring. Young are born between mid-May and early July after a gestation period believed to be around 40 days. Generally, 2 pups are born, but the litter size can vary from 1 to 4.
The pups are born deaf and blind, staying that way for 3 and 12 days respectively. They gain the ability to fly by around 23 days of age and are eventually weaned by 34 days. They reach sexual maturity by the time they are one year old.
Their life-expectancy in the wild is around 6-7 years.
Sounds & Communication
When disturbed while resting they make a sharp hissing sound. They also make an audible chattering during flight.
- Hoary bats use echolocation to locate their prey and are one of the few creatures in the world to do so.
- They wrap their hairy tails around their bodies during winter to get added insulation.
Owls and hawks are the primary predators of the hoary bat. Rat snakes occasionally feed on them as well, as do American kestrels.
IUCN Conservation Status
The IUCN categorizes the hoary bat under the ‘Least Concern’ list.
- The hoary bat is the largest bat found in Canada.
- Another name for this animal is Hawaiian hoary bat.
- Unlike most other animals that use echolocation, the sounds that the hoary bats generate are audible to humans.