Bat Species of New York (Upstate)

<< Back to New York Wildlife < Mammals

About Bats

Northern Long-eared Bat

Northern Long-eared Bat

Although often miss-classified as rodents, bats are a unique order of winged mammals, often nocturnal and generally insectivores. Many use echolocation as a method for hunting, but contrary to popular belief, they are not blind. Bats have eyes and can see, just not very well. Flying insects are more abundant at night, when light is scarce, so bats have evolved the ability to create high-pitched sounds, which bounce off of objects and return to the bat’s highly sensitive ears. This natural radar gives them the ability to detect and interpret the size, shape and direction of objects.

Bats for Pest Control

Although many people consider bats to be pests themselves, they actually play an important role in the control of insects, particularly mosquitoes. A single bat can devour as many as 1,000 insects in one night, and a family of bats can noticeably help control insect populations for a whole neighborhood. Many landowners erect bat boxes in their yards. Bat boxes are usually simple wooden structures that are tempting homes for many bat species. A bat box on one’s property can cut down on nighttime insects as well as sway bats from roosting inside the house. Bat boxes are inexpensive and environmentally-friendly pest management devices.

Bats in New York

New York is home to at least 9 species of bat, none of which are vampire, or blood-feeding bats. One should use caution around a bat, as any of them can carry parasites or rabies. When handled or harassed most bats will attempt to bite, so it is recommended to avoid them.

Bats in Your Home

Don’t panic. If there is any chance that the bat has bitten someone in the house, including pets, it should be captured and given to the local animal control center for rabies testing. If there is no chance that the bat was in contact with people or pets, then the goal is to help it escape safely.

Help the bat escape

  • Remove children and pets from the house.
  • Turn off the TV or anything that makes noise and remain silent and calm.
  • Open windows and doors.
  • Stay out of the bat’s way and to not try to hit it or push it out of your house.

Catching a bat

  • Call animal control. Do not attempt to catch a bat yourself, unless necessary. Bats tend to carry diseases and should be handled with caution.
  • Wear protective gloves when handling.
  • Bats are small, so a fishing net probably won’t work. A butterfly next is a good option. Tennis rackets may harm or kill the bat.
  • A damp towel can be thrown onto a resting bat. Scoop up the towel while carefully enclosing the bat in it.

Bat Books and Field Guides

 

Humane Capture / Control for Bats

Bat Houses

New York State Bat Species Identification Guide

Big Brown BatBig Brown BatFind more images

Big Brown Bat
(Eptesicus fuscus)

Identifying characteristics: A light or medium-brown furry bat, with a broad nose, fleshy lips and small, thick black ears. The ears, face and wings are devoid of hair and are black. The fang-like teeth are strong and capable of causing injury.

Size: Average body length of 4.5 inches. Wingspan of 13 inches. Females are slightly larger than males.

Habitat: Heavily forested regions, cities, towns, rural areas with ample secluded structures for roosting and stable structures for hibernation. Barns and attics are often utilized. They roost during the day in hollow trees, within the bark of trees, or in man-made structures.

Food: Carnivorous; insectivorous. Primarily flying insects. They hunt around tree canopies at night. Usually 2-5 hours after sunset. Their tail and wing membranes are used to capture flying prey.

Reproduction: Litter size is usually 2.

Other Info.: Nocturnal; hibernates. Uses echolocation for navigation and hunting, but they are not blind.

Vocalization: Short, high-pitched clicks or chirps.

Big Brown Bat Call

Distribution

Complete distribution

Found all over the state and neighboring states.

Eastern Pipistrelle Eastern Pipistrelle Find more images

Eastern Pipistrelle
(Pipistrellus subflavus)

AKA: Butterfly bat; Tri-colored bat

Identifying characteristics: A small bat with yellowish-brown fur and black wings, black face and small round ears. Each individual hair of its fur is tri-colored, dark at the base, yellowish brown in the middle and dark at the tip. They are easily identified by their reddish forearms.

Size: Average body length of 3-3.5 inches. Wingspan of 9 inches. Females are slightly larger than males.

Habitat: Open woodland near water; open fields. They tend to avoid deep woods. Often found flying and hunting over water. They roost in caves, rock crevices, trees and buildings. In winter they hibernate in more stable, deeper caves.

Food: Carnivorous; insectivorous. Primarily flying insects. They hunt near the shore and above water at night. Their tail and wing membranes are used to capture flying prey.

Reproduction: Litter size is usually 2.

Other Info.: Nocturnal. Hibernates. Uses echolocation for navigation and hunting, but they are not blind. They get their nickname, the Butterfly Bat, because of their moth-like flight pattern.

Vocalization: A multi-harmonic series of high-pitched noises.



Distribution

Complete distribution

Common in many areas of the state and surrounding sates.

Status: None

Eastern Red BatEastern Red BatFind more images

Eastern Red Bat
(Lasiurus borealis)

Identifying characteristics: A medium-sized bat with dense reddish (or reddish-brown) fur. The fur is more prominent across the back and face compared to other bats. Males tend to have more red hair, while females have frosted-tipped chestnut-colored hair.

Size: Average body length of 4 inches. Wingspan of 12 inches.

Habitat: Forested areas sparsely or not inhabited by humans. They spend their days roosting in the foliage of trees, hanging by one foot, often looking like a dead leaf or pine cone. They rarely live in man-made structures. Their dense fur makes them well-suited for colder temperatures.

Food: Carnivorous, insectivorous. Primarily flying insects such as moths. Beginning at dusk, they hunt in open locations using a light source, such as the setting sun, to help locate prey. They catch their prey mid-flight.

Reproduction: Litter size is usually 2.

Other Info.: Nocturnal. Like other bats, they use echolocation for navigation and hunting, but they are not blind. Is well-adapted for cold temperatures, but may migrate south for the winter. Their camouflage helps them deter predation from birds and opossums.

Vocalization: Short, high-pitched chirps, sounding like a bird.



Distribution

Complete distribution

Common in many areas of the state and surrounding sates.

Status: None

 

Eastern Small-Footed Bat Eastern Small-Footed Bat Find more images

Eastern Small-Footed Bat
(Myotis leibii)

AKA: Eastern Small-footed Myotis

Identifying characteristics: A small-sized bat with medium-brown fur on its back and lighter, puffier fur on its belly. The fur is often described as having a glossy golden sheen to it. The ears are pointed. The face, ears and wings are black. As the name implies, their feet are relatively small for a bat.

Size: The smallest bat in Eastern North America, with an average body length of 2.8 inches. Wingspan of 8.5 inches.

Habitat: Mountainous regions of deciduous or coniferous forest. They can be found roosting in buildings, tunnels, or within rock crevices. They hibernate in caves and tunnels. The Small-footed bat may roost with hundreds of others.

Food: Carnivorous. Insectivorous. Primarily flying insects such as moths and flies. They can be seen hunting over land or water, and they seem to prefer hunting along the forest edge.

Reproduction: Litter size is usually 1.

Other Info.: Nocturnal. Hibernates. Uses echolocation for navigation and hunting, but they are not blind. They are some of the rarest bats in North America.

Vocalization: not available.



Distribution

Complete distribution

Found in many areas of the state and surrounding sates.

Status: Special Concern in NY State due to dwindling habitat.

 

Hoary Bat
Hoary BatFind more images

Hoary Bat
(Lasiurus cinereus)

Identifying characteristics: A relatively large bat that is easy to identify by its frosty fur that extends to the elbows of its wings. The face and the outlines of its small, rounded ears are black, as are the bottom portions of the wings that are not covered in fur. Other areas of skin are pinkish-grey. There is a characteristic ring of dark brown fur around the neck and a patch of yellow cream fur on the throat and around the ears. The eyes are beady. 4 mammary glands are present on females.

Size: Average body length of 5.5 inches. Wingspan of 16.5 inches. The largest bat species in NY State.

Habitat: Found mostly in wooded areas, roosting in a variety of tree types, usually close to open areas. Rarely in human structures. Migrates rather than hibernates, often joining up with large groups for migration in the fall.

Food: Carnivorous; insectivorous. Primarily flying insects with a preference for large moths. They start hunting in early evening to take advantage of the light. Feeding may continue throughout the night.

Reproduction: Litter size is usually 1-4, often 2.

Other Info.: Nocturnal. The Hoary bat migrates south for the winter. They use echolocation for navigation and hunting, but they are not blind. Hoary bats are usually solitary, except when breeding or migrating. They are strong flyers.

Vocalization: Hissing and high-pitched chirps.



Distribution

Complete distribution

Found throughout the state.

Status: The most widely distributed bat in North America.

Found in almost every state. Hawaii’s only native mammal.

 

Indiana Bat Indiana Bat Find more images

Indiana Bat
(Myotis sodalis)

Identifying characteristics: This tiny bat has very fine, fluffy grey or brownish-grey hair on its back and lighter, pinkish fur on its belly. The ears are medium sized and black to match its wings. The nose is pink (although sometimes grey). It does not have black skin on the face, which gives brown bats the masked appearance. The feet often have hair, but it does not extend past the toes.

Size: Average body length of 2 inches. Wingspan of 10 inches.

Habitat: Wooded or semi-wooded areas near water. Warm weather roosting may happen in dead trees, in hollowed out sections, or under bark. Hibernation is in limestone caves containing pools. Migration to hibernation sites is common, with mating beginning upon arrival. They are usually found roosting in tightly packed clusters.

Food: Carnivorous; insectivorous. Primarily flying insects. Prefers to hunt along shorelines.

Reproduction: Litter size is 1.

Other Info.: Nocturnal. They migrate to suitable caves for the winter. Indiana bats use echolocation for navigation and hunting, but they are not blind.

Vocalization: High pitched squeaks.



Distribution

Distribution

Found throughout the southern counties of the state.

Status: Federally Endangered due to majority of animals hibernating in relatively few cave sites; commercialization of cave sites; vandalism.

Special note: Disturbing hibernating Indiana Bats may result in them not surviving the winter.

 

Little Brown BatLittle Brown BatFind more images

Little Brown Bat
(Myotis lucifugus)

Identifying characteristics: A small bat (slightly larger than the Indiana bat) with glossy brown fur on its back and lighter-colored fur on its belly. The ears are elongated, but relatively small. The face, ears and wings are black. The feet are large and have hair that extends past the toes. The eyes are tiny.

Size: Average body length of 3.5 inches. Wingspan of 10 inches. Females are slightly larger than males.

Habitat: Roosting locations include buildings, trees, rocks, rocky cliffs, woodpiles. They prefer dark and cool locations for day roosting. Forested lands near bodies of water are preferred. Hibernation occurs in deep caves or mines.

Food: Carnivorous; insectivorous. Flying insects, preferably with an aquatic larval stage. They hunt near tree canopies or over water. Unlike many other bats, these bats are capable of catching insects directly with their mouth, rather than with their wings, which they use for larger prey.

Reproduction: Litter size is usually 1. Considered one of the most promiscuous species of mammal.

Other Info.: Nocturnal. Hibernates. Uses FM echolocation for hunting, but they are not blind. Predators include domestic cats, martens and fishers.

Vocalization: Short, high-pitched squeaks.

Little Brown Bat Call



Distribution

Complete distribution

Common in many areas of the state and surrounding sates.

Status: None

 

Northern Long-eared Bat
Northern Long-eared BatFind more images

Northern Long-eared Bat
(Myotis septentrionalis)

Identifying characteristics: This small bat has dull yellowish brown fur and long black rounded ears. The fur on their underside tends to be pale grey. Often the lips are pink.

Size: Average body length of 3 inches. Wingspan of 9.5 inches. Females are slightly larger than males.

Habitat: Heavily forested areas, where they feed and roost, but will often be found roosting in small groups in buildings and caves.

Food: Carnivorous; insectivorous. Generally stationary moths and other insects. They use a foraging strategy called gleaning, in which they use echolocation (and their long ears) to navigate within the dense vegetation of wooded areas. They pluck stationary moths from surfaces, but can also capture flying prey. They emerge shortly after sunset to hunt.

Vocalization: Short, high-pitched squeaks.

Reproduction: Litter size is usually 1.

Other Info.: Nocturnal, hibernates. Uses FM echolocation for hunting, but they are not blind.



Distribution

Complete distribution

Common in many areas of the state and surrounding sates.

Status: None

 


Recent Wildlife Discussion Topics

Recent Wildlife Topics error determining URL address with the following unresolved->/home4/e7f1r6x6/public_html

Contributors

Buy Finger Lakes Photos and Gifts
New York Historic
New York Historic

Explore the history of New York State from the comfort of your desktop. We are creating a photographic catalog of New York State historic sites. Post comments, answer trivia, and learn what has happened in your neck of the woods. NY Historic

Public Markets
Public Markets

Beautiful captures of people and products from markets around the world. From Rochester to the mountains of China. Check back for monthly updates from local Upstate New York Markets. Scenes from Public Markets

Buy Photos & Gifts
Buy Photos & Gifts

Like the photos you see here? Think they will look great on your wall, or be a perfect gift for someone you know? Select photos by photographer Matthew Conheady are available to purchase at discounted prices.
Buy New York Pictures.

More…
© 2013 Copyright Matthew Conheady • Photos belong to their owners • Privacy PolicyOur Advertisers