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The Northern Long-Eared Bat looks a lot like the Little Brown Bat except for its longer ears and longer tail. Just as their name implies, these bats do have very long ears that measure between 17 millimeters and 19 millimeters. Like most species of bats, the females are larger than the males.
Length – 84 millimeters (or just under 3 inches)
Wingspan – 23 centimeters to 26 centimeters
Weight – 6 grams to 9 grams
The Northern Long-Eared Bat is less common than the Little Brown Bat. They have an irregular population throughout the East Coast of the United States, including Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. They can be found in pockets rather than a widely spread-out pattern like the Little Brown Bat. Not much is known about this species, but their feeding habits are much like the Little Brown Bat. They like to roost in forest areas or in structures close to waterways and wetlands, where a variety of flying insects can be found.
Northern Long-Eared Bats begin their journey to caves and abandoned mines in mid-fall to hibernate. Often they share the hibernation site with Little Brown Bats, Big Brown Bats and Pipistrelle Bats. Most Northern Long-Eared Bats roost in the hibernating site individually rather than in large clusters typical of Little Brown Bats and Big Brown Bats.
Northern Long-Eared Bats mate in the late fall but the female’s egg doesn’t become fertilized until they emerge from hibernation in the spring. When the Northern Long-Eared Bat emerges from hibernation, the females gather in maternity colonies of about 30 to 60 bats and each female gives birth to one pup in June or July. The average gestation period can range between 50 and 60 days. At 4 weeks old, the pups are able to survive on their own as they are weaned from their mothers and able to fly. Like all of the bat species in Maryland, they do not choose one mate to stay with for life, or even from one breeding period to the next. Maternity colonies are found in attics, barns, tree cavities, or in any other structure that is suitable for roosting. Males are solitary and can be found roosting in tree cavities, under loose tree bark, in attics, barns, or other sites.
The Northern Long-Eared Bat is an insectivore and feeds on mosquitoes, flies and beetles, but moths seem to be their favorite. They first emerge just after the sun sets each night in order to hunt their prey. They also hunt for food again just before dawn. Their small size and superior echolocation ability makes it easy for them to navigate in the thick interior of the forest heavily cluttered with tree branches, vines and leaves. They can easily capture insects using their long ears that act like a satellite dish, allowing them to better receive the sonic wave that bounces off their prey. They are one of the few bat species that can capture their prey by plucking the insect from a stationary surface like tree branches and light posts.
Northern Long-Eared Bat roosting in your attic? Contact Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control to set up an inspection appointment with a skilled wildlife control technician.
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