Going batty! Discover 5 Canadian bats

Image of Amanda Simard

Amanda Simard, Writing Intern

This blog was written by writing intern Amanda Simard.

It’s bat appreciation day! To celebrate, learn more about the bats that live near you.

Dracula had been giving bats a bad rep, and they are oft misunderstood creatures. Did you know only 0.3% of bats actually drink blood? Many eat only fruit or pollen, and others are the ultimate bug zappers, ridding you of those pesky mosquitoes by the thousands!

If you thought bats were scary, think again! Many are actually quite cute. Between being a flying mammal and using echolocation, bats are certainly interesting creatures.

Here are a few species you might find living near you.

Northern Myotis

 image of a Nothern Myotis

 

Scientific name: Myotis septentrionalis
Canadian Range: BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, QC, NB, PEI, NS, NL, NT, YT
COSEWIC status: Endangered
SARA status: Endangered
Description: weight 4.3-10.8 g; length about 7.8 cm; wingspan 23-26 cm
A small brown bat with a long, slender and pointed tragus, and ears that extend past the nose when pressed forward.

 

Little Brown Myotis

 image of a Little Brown Myotis

 

Scientific name: Myotis lucifugus 
Canadian Range: BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, QC, NB, PEI, NS, NL, NT, YT
COSEWIC status: Endangered
SARA status: Endangered
Description: weight 5.5-11.0 g; length 6-10.2 cm; wingspan 22-27 cm
A small brown bat with a short blunt tragus.

 

Hoary Bat

 image of a Hoary Bat

 

Scientific name: Lasiurus cinereus
Canadian Range: BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, QC, NB, NS, NL, NT
COSEWIC status: no status
SARA status: no status
Description: weight 20-30 g; length 13-15 cm; wingspan about 43 cm
A bat with white-tinged grey-brown fur, giving it a frosty appearance. Its ears are short, broad, and rounded, and it has a blunt, rounded nose.

 

Red Bat

 image of a Red Bat
Figure 1 “Eastern Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis), roosting at “Griffy Lake”, Bloomington, IN. ” by Chris Harshaw is licensed under CC BY 3.0
Scientific name: Lasiurus borealis
Canadian Range: MB, SK, ON, QC, NB, NS, PEI
COSEWIC status: no status
SARA status: no status
Description: weight 7-13 g; length 9.3-11.7 cm
A medium-sized bat with red fur that is white tipped.

 

Big Brown Bat

 image of a Big Brown Bat
Scientific name: Eptesicus fuscus
Canadian Range: BC, AB, MB, SK, ON, QC, NB
COSEWIC status: no status
SARA status: no status
Description: weight around 23 g; length 11-13 cm; wingspan about 33 cm
A brown bat with a lighter underside. Its ears are rounded with a broad, rounded tragus, and it has a broad nose.

More Canadian bats and where to find them

BC AB SK MB ON QC NB NS PE NL NT YT NU
Northern Myotis x x x x x x x x x x x x
Little Brown Myotis x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Eastern Small-footed Myotis x x
Red Bat x x x x x x x
Hoary Bat x x x x x x x x x x x
Silver-haired Bat x x x x x x x x x
Big Brown Bat x x x x x x x
Tri-coloured Bat x x x x
California Myotis x
Fringed Bat x
Keen’s Long-eared Bat x
Long-eared Myotis x x x
Long-legged Myotis x x
Townsend’s Big-eared Bat x
Western Small-footed Myotis x x x
Yuma Myotis x
Spotted Bat x
Pallid Bat x

SARA status : Endangered; Threatened; Special Concern

Eager to spot the bats living in your neighbourhood? Don’t forget you can rent a bat detector through Nature Canada! To do so, please contact Jill Sturdy, NatureHood Program Manager, at jsturdy@naturecanada.ca.

Which bats have you spotted lately? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter!

Acknowledgements: COSEWIC, IUCN Red List, and Animal Diversity Web

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