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Virginia big-eared bat

(Corynorhinus (= Plecotus) townsendii virginianus)


This bat is of medium size (total length= 90-112 mm, and weight 9-12 grams) with huge ears joined across the forehead. They have elongated nostril openings, soft long fur, with the dorsal hairs dark, brown at the tip. Females gather from diverse hibernacula during April and May to form maternity colonies in warm caves. At rest, the ears are coiled slightly and lie along the neck. It is one of only two Virginia bat species which roost in caves in the summer. In the winter they commonly roost singly or in small groups.This is not a migratory bat,although, if disturbed, the entire colony may move to an alternate site. Lifespan is 16 years. These bats are designated as state and federally endangered mainly due to their small population and limited habitat and distribution.


It is presently known to occur in three caves in Tazewell County during the summer, and five caves (Highland, Bland and Tazewell counties) in the winter. It is one of two Virginia bat species which roost in caves in the summer. They are found exclusively in limestone caves. There are also only three known maternity colonies.


This species subsists mostly on moths but also Neuroptera, Coleoptera, Mecoptera, Diptera and Hymenoptera. This bat feeds mostly over open pasture, corn and alfalfa fields, and around the crowns of trees.