Eastern Red Bats
IN MARYLAND

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The Eastern Red Bat is a medium-sized bat with a beautiful reddish-orange fur coat. Males usually have a bright coat, while females are on the grayish side. Both genders sometimes have white-tipped hairs that make them look frosty. The Western Red Bat and the Eastern Red Bat are very similar in their appearance, but their territories don’t usually overlap except for some areas in Texas and New Mexico.

Physical Description

  • Weight – 1/4 oz. to 5/8 oz.
  • Body length – 3.5 inches to 4.5 inches
  • Wingspan – 13 inches

Habitat

The Eastern Red Bat inhabits a territory from the Rocky Mountains through southern Canada, all the way to the Atlantic Coast, extending as far down as central Florida, Texas, and even parts of Mexico. Red Bats in the south usually reside in the same area year round. Those in the northern U.S. and Canada, however, migrate south to warmer states.

The Eastern Red Bats hunt mostly over land, along the edges of farmland, or other open spaces with large trees. They prefer forested environments and typically roost in tree cavities, on tree bark, in leaf litter and tree trunks (it is not common for the Eastern Red Bat to roost in attics). During the summer, they will roost in the same location for several weeks at a time and sometimes for the entire summer.

Habits

Red bats migrate to the north in mid-April and return to warmer climates between August and October. Males and females migrate separately and can even join other bat species in their trip. Although uncommon, it’s been recoded that some Eastern Red Bats stay in the north to hibernate. They would hibernate in hollow trees, dropping their body temperature just above freezing. They survive by burning their fat reserves, but if temperatures stay too long below freezing, the bats won’t make it. During the hibernation period, bats can lose around 25% of their body weight.

Red bats prefer to roost in thick foliage, and their red-colored fur helps them stay well-camouflaged. Some trees work better than others for keeping these bats hidden, especially box elder trees, sycamore, elms and oaks. Red bats build their roosts anywhere from 2 to 40 feet off the ground.

Reproduction and Mating

Red bats are solitary except when a mother has her pups or when the bats gather during migration to hibernate. Theses bats breed in the fall during the migration to their winter hibernation spot. Females can have up to 5 pups, but usually give birth to two pups in June. The pups are born blind and with furry backs. They are weaned from their mothers at about 5 to 6 weeks and learn to fly when they are about 4 weeks old.

Diet

Red bats are one of the first bats to emerge when the sun goes down. They typically fly higher when they first leave the roost and, as it gets darker, they fly lower to the ground. Red Bats are one of the few bat species known to land on surfaces and structures to catch their prey. Nursing mothers will feed throughout the night to keep their energy up, while others will feed only during the first few hours.

Red bats will travel up to 3,000 feet from their roosting site to look for food. They will return to the same feeding grounds every night, as long as their food source doesn’t get depleted. These bats eat a variety of flying and hopping insects, including mosquitoes, moths, beetles, plant hoppers and other bugs.

Bats are protected by law and can only be evicted from a home in accordance with the guidelines set by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control is licensed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and fully insured. Our bat eviction techniques are humane and effective. Contact us to set up an inspection with an expert wildlife control technician.

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