Eastern red bat

Lasiurus borealis

Quick Facts

  • Species

    Native

  • Size

    The eastern red bat is a small bat measuring about three inches long with a 13-inch wingspan. 

  • Habitat

    From spring to fall, eastern red bats roost in tree canopy about four to ten feet above the ground. During the winter months, they will find empty tree cavities or leaf litter to use for hiding. During this time they go into a state of torpor which is a state of inactivity similar to hibernation. 

  • Range

    The eastern red bat can be found east of the continental divide from southern Canada to northern Mexico. It will spend spring to summer in the northern reaches of its range and migrate south for winter. 

  • Diet

    Eastern red bats prefer to eat moths and butterflies, but they will eat a wide variety of insects including crickets, flies, mosquitos and beetles. 

  • Lifespan

    12 years
  • Status

    Stable

The eastern red bat is the most common tree bat in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Appearance

The eastern red bat is a small bat measuring about three inches long with a 13-inch wingspan. Its fur is a rusty red-orange with males showing brighter coloring and females showing dustier colors. Both males and females have a white patch of fur at their shoulder and wing joints.

Feeding

Eastern red bats prefer to eat moths and butterflies, but they will eat a wide variety of insects including crickets, flies, mosquitos and beetles. 

Predators

Predators of eastern red bats include foxes, birds of prey, snakes and opossums. 

Flight

They are often most active at dusk. 

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Mating occurs in the fall and pups are born in the summer. Females can give birth of up to five pups but most have litters of three pups. They can learn to fly in five weeks and are weaned at that time. 

Did You Know?

  • Diving bats are frequently mistaken as being aggressive towards humans, when they are in fact going after insects.
  • The eastern red bat can fly at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.
  • Wind turbines are becoming a growing danger for eastern red bats during their annual migration.
  • Eastern red bats are more tolerant of light pollution than other species of North American bats, including big brown bats and little brown bats.
  • Eastern red bats often follow the same flight path every night.

Sources and Additional Information

Bat Conservation International - Eastern Red Bat
Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources - Eastern Red Bat Fact File
Maryland Department of Natural Resources - Eastern Red Bat
Turning to the dark side: LED light at night alters the activity and species composition of a foraging bat assemblage in the northeastern United States

Quick Facts

  • Species

    Native

  • Size

    The eastern red bat is a small bat measuring about three inches long with a 13-inch wingspan. 

  • Habitat

    From spring to fall, eastern red bats roost in tree canopy about four to ten feet above the ground. During the winter months, they will find empty tree cavities or leaf litter to use for hiding. During this time they go into a state of torpor which is a state of inactivity similar to hibernation. 

  • Range

    The eastern red bat can be found east of the continental divide from southern Canada to northern Mexico. It will spend spring to summer in the northern reaches of its range and migrate south for winter. 

  • Diet

    Eastern red bats prefer to eat moths and butterflies, but they will eat a wide variety of insects including crickets, flies, mosquitos and beetles. 

  • Lifespan

    12 years
  • Status

    Stable