Skip to Main Content

Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bat

Fact File

Scientific Name: Corynorhinus rafinesquii

Classification: Mammal, Order Chiroptera

Conservation Status:

Identifying Characteristics

Rafinesque’s big-eared bat is our coastal version of the Virginia big-eared bat. Adults measure approximately 3.6–4.2 inches in length and weigh
0.25–0.45 ounces. The ears of the big-eared bat are extremely large, measuring about 1.25 inches in length. The fur is long, soft, and bicolored. The belly fur is tipped with white, providing silvery contrast to the gray-brown fur on the back. Rafinesque’s and Virginia big-eared bats are almost identical, separated by the long bicolored fur and toe hairs that reach beyond the tips of the claws in Rafinesque’s big-eared bat.

an image of the Rafinesque's big-eared bat's fur pattern on it's hind foot, the fur spirals from it's tightest coil of it's innermost section.

Rafinesque’s big-eared bat fur pattern (ventral and dorsal) and hind foot.


Rafinesque’s big-eared bat is a cave or tree bat depending on geographic location. Along the coast and in the southeastern U.S., Rafinesque’s big-eared bats roost in hollow trees and old buildings year round. However, farther north and west up the Appalachian mountains, they can be found in caves and mines.


Like the Virginia big-eared bat, moths make up to 90% of the diet of  Rafinesque’s big-eared bats, with beetles and other flying insects comprising the rest of their diet.


In Virginia, Rafinesque’s big-eared bats are found in bottomland hardwoods and swamps in the Coastal Plain.


Reproduction occurs in fall through winter when males and females move to their  wintering sites. Females will form maternity groups of a few to as many as 100 individuals. Through delayed fertilization, a single litter is produced in late spring or early summer (early June through mid-July). Gestation is about 55 to 100 days; the young begin to fly at about three weeks, and are weaned at about 6 weeks of age.


Primary threats are loss and degradation of coastal bottomland hardwood forests. Conservation actions are tied to protection and enhancement of bottomland hardwood forests.

Last updated: January 19, 2024


Order your copy of  A Guide to the Bats of Virginia, along with more gear, guides, and gifts!

Visit ShopDWR

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Species Profile Database serves as a repository of information for Virginia’s fish and wildlife species. The database is managed and curated by the Wildlife Information and Environmental Services (WIES) program. Species profile data, distribution information, and photography is generated by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, State and Federal agencies, Collection Permittees, and other trusted partners. This product is not suitable for legal, engineering, or surveying use. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources does not accept responsibility for any missing data, inaccuracies, or other errors which may exist. In accordance with the terms of service for this product, you agree to this disclaimer.