The Silver-Haired Bat is a medium-sized bat that is recognized by its silvery highlights in the fur on its back.
- Weight – 8 grams to 12 grams
- Wingspan – 15 inches
- Body Length – 2 ¾ inches to 4 ¼ inches
Habits and Habitat
The Silver-Haired Bat inhabits a vast territory from Alaska and parts of Canada to the United States. It is not found (at any time of the year) in the southernmost states like Georgia, southern Alabama, southern Louisiana and all of Florida. The Silver-Haired Bat migrates to the southern U.S. as well as the northern tip of Mexico during late fall and early winter, and returns north in early spring.
Silver-Haired Bats tend to roost solo rather than in colonies. They live mainly in old forests, specifically in tree cavities, under peeling tree bark, inside hollow trees and other similar spots. It is very uncommon to find a Silver-Haired Bat roosting in attics or man-made structures. In fall, Silver-Haired Bats start moving south; they use rock crevices and caves as their shelter along the way. Unlike most other species of bats that tend to hibernate during the colder months when flying insects are unavailable, the Silver-Haired Bat sometimes migrates during that time.
Reproduction and Mating
Like all bat species in Maryland, Silver-Haired Bats mate using a very unique process referred to as delayed fertilization. The mating occurs during migration (around September – October). The sperm are then stored inside the female’s reproductive tracts all winter long, and the female doesn’t become pregnant until the spring when she migrates back north.
Silver-Haired Bats give birth to 1 – 2 pups in May or June. Newborn bats are typically able to fly after 3 to 4 weeks and reach their full sexual maturity after their first summer. The average lifespan of the Silver-Haired Bat is about 12 years.
Like all of the bat species native to Maryland, Silver-Haired Bats are insectivores and feed only on insects including moths, flies, mosquitoes, midges, caddis flies, beetles, crane flies, ants, crickets and occasional spiders. They catch their prey with their sharp teeth. They also use their pouch-like tail as a tool to catch insects. Silver-Haired Bats forage for food around bodies of water such as ponds, lakes and streams where insect populations are high. They also forage for food along the edges of tree lines and under the forest canopy.
All 10 of Maryland’s bat species are protected by law. Guidelines set by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources must be followed when evicting a bat colony from a home. Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control is a licensed and insured nuisance wildlife control company that specializes in bat eviction and bat exclusion in Maryland. Contact us to schedule an inspection appointment.