Quick Facts

Species Type

Native

Size

Body length of 3 to 3.7 inches and a wingspan of 9 to 10 inches

Habitat

Parks and forests

Range

The northern long-eared bat is found across much of the eastern and north central United States and all Canadian provinces from the Atlantic coast west to the southern Northwest Territories and eastern British Columbia.

Diet

Moths, flies, leafhoppers, caddisflies and beetles

Lifespan

The maximum lifespan for the northern long-eared bat is estimated to be up to 18.5 years.

Conservation Status

Threatened

Appearance

The northern long-eared bat is a medium-sized bat with a medium to dark brown fur coloring on the back and tawny to pale-brown on the underside. The bat’s ears are particularly long when compared to other bats in the Myotis genus.

Feeding

Northern long-eared bats fly through the understory of forested areas feeding on moths, flies, leafhoppers, caddisflies and beetles. They use echolocation to find prey or find motionless insects on vegetation.

Predators

The biggest threat to northern long-eared bats is the disease white-nose syndrome, which is hurting many bat populations in North America. Habitat destruction and wind turbines also pose a threat to the species

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Breeding begins in late summer or early fall when males begin to gather just before hibernation. Females store sperm during winter hibernation. Come spring, the females emerge from their hibernacula, ovulate and fertilize their eggs using the stored sperm—a process known as “delayed fertilization.”

After fertilization, pregnant bats migrate to warm-weather areas where they roost in small “maternity colonies” and give birth. Most bats within a colony will give birth around the same time, from late May or early June to late July. Young bats start flying by 18 to 21 days after birth, and the maximum lifespan for the northern long-eared bat is up to 18.5 years.

Did You Know?

  • During the winter, northern long-eared bats hibernate in caves and mines. These areas are typically cold with high humidity and no air currents. During the summer, they roost underneath bark, in cavities or in crevices of both live trees and snags (dead trees).
  • The northern long-eared bat suffers from a devastating disease known as white-nose syndrome that spreads during hibernation.
  • In May 2022, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to reclassify this bat from threatened to endangered due to the range-wide impacts of white-nose syndrome
  • There is a dedicated White Nose Syndrome Response Team working to curb the disease.
  • During the summer, the northern long-eared myotis appears especially reliant upon forested habitats and is found in greater densities in the northern areas than in the south.

Sources and Additional Information