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Southeastern Bat

Fact File

Scientific Name: Myotis austroriparius

Classification: Mammal, Order Chiroptera

Conservation Status:

Habitat: The southeastern bat, like the Rafinesque’s big-eared bat, can be a tree or cave bat depending on geographic location. In Virginia, this species is a tree bat of bottomland hardwood forests in southeast Virginia. Roosts in snags, broken trees, sloughing bark, and tree cavities. In other parts of its range it is closely associated with caves.

Diet: Like the gray bat, the southeastern bat is primarily a riparian feeder flying low over water feeding on insects. Mosquitoes, crane flies, beetles, and moths are some of the food items consumed by the southeastern bat.

Distribution: The southeastern bat is a relatively new species to Virginia. The first record in Virginia is from 1996 when four male southeastern bats were captured during a survey at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

Identifying Characteristics

The southeastern bat is similar in appearance to the little brown bat, but distinguished by slightly shorter, thick, dull, wooly fur. Fur color is variable in this species due to molting and ranges from grayish brown to yellowish above and white or tan below. Adults measure approximately 3.3–3.8 inches in length and weigh 0.2–0.45 ounces.

Breeding Biology

Little is known of the breeding biology of this species outside of populations in Florida. Mating is generally from mid-February to mid-April, and nursery colonies start to form in mid-March. Twins are typically born in late April to mid-May, and young are capable of sustaining themselves in about three weeks. Maternity roosts are generally found in tree cavities and buildings, often associated with streams or ponds.

Conservation

Tier IV Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Virginia’s Wildlife Action Plan. Primary threats are loss and degradation of bottomland hardwood forests. Conservation actions are tied to protection and enhancement of bottomland hardwood forests.

Last updated: October 14, 2020

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