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Northern Long-eared Bat

The Northern Long-eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis) is found in many regions of Canada. Although there are numerous records of its presence in eastern Canada and the United States, it has only been recorded sporadically in the west. Presently, the Northern Long-eared Bat is on the Blue List of species that may be at risk in Alberta.

This particular type of bat has two habitats: a winter hibernation habitat as well as a summer roosting and foraging habitat.

The Northern Long-eared Bat hibernates in caves or abandoned mines during the cold winter months. Within a cave the northern Long-eared bat intermingles with other species of bats, but forms a small proportion of the total hibernating population. Thus, hibernating Northern Long-eared Bats are never abundant.

During the summer months the Bats commonly use crevices behind peeling bark or cavities in partially-decayed trees as summer day roosts. Within thick forests, summer activity may be focused along watercourses and small ponds. Similarly, activity may also be high in the vicinity of artificial light sources such as streetlights and yard lights in association with the increased availability of night-flying insects. These isolated habitats fulfill a critical need and may affect choice of summer day roosts and night foraging areas.

Unlike other small mammals the Northern Long-eared Bat are relatively long lived. The record age of a Northern Long-eared Bat in the wild is 19 years. Also in contrast to most small mammals, each female bat produces only one young each year. Most mortality in North American bat species occurs in the juvenile age class and many pups do not survive their first year. Additional mortality occurs during the hibernation period. If winters harsh, or if bats cannot obtain the fat reserves necessary to survive this period, they may starve. Juveniles are particularly vulnerable during hibernation because they have relatively short time after their birth to build up fat reserves.

Like all bat species in Canada, the Northern Long-eared Bat feeds exclusively on insects. Myotis bats are generally insectivores, and their diet is limited only by the size of the insects they are capable of catching. Although moths and beetles make up the majority of their diet, mosquitos, black flies, and other noxious pests also are consumed. The disappearance of suitable food following killing frosts in the fall is the primary factor initiating hibernation.

Parasites and diseases probably have minimal impact in most insectivorous bat species. However, bats can become infected with rabies virus and thus pose a public health concern. Rabies virus can cause fatal infections in all warm-blooded mammals and birds and is a concern for public safety and livestock health throughout the world.

Northern Long-eared Bat

Northern Long-eared Bat