Little Brown Bat

(Myotis lucifugus). Patient Number 21-1631.

Date of admission: October 7, 2021.
Reason for admission: Grounded.

Patient History:
Little brown bats are one of the most common bat species in North America. Although their range spans the entire continent, little brown bats are most commonly found in the northern half of the continental United States and southern Canada. Adult little brown bats weigh between 5-14 grams (0.2-0.5 ounces) and have a wingspan averaging 25 centimeters (10 inches). Contrary to popular belief, little brown bats, like all other bats, are not blind. Still, they do depend heavily on their use of echolocation (sound waves and echoes) to navigate their surroundings at night and to locate prey. Their prey consists mostly of small flying insects, with the average bat consuming about 1000 insects per night, or, half of their body weight. Most little brown bats will mate in the fall when groups swarm together. Females will then give birth to one pup in late spring. The pup will weigh about a ¼ of its mother’s weight and will cling to her until it is able to fly on its own at 3 weeks of age.

Little brown bats are nocturnal. During the day they roost in colonies; with large numbers of bats commonly found roosting in hollow trees, in the crevices of rocks, or in man-made structures such as attics and barns. Little brown bats are considered 'true hibernators' and will often hibernate from September until early April or May, surviving purely on summer fat stores. Winter roosts can be natural subterranean caves and mines, or man-made structures. Few details are known about their hibernation patterns but it appears that winter roosts, or hibernacula, are places where the temperature remains above freezing. If the temperature drops below -4°C (24.8°F), bats will rouse themselves and seek a warmer site. This behavior may explain the discovery of active bats during the winter.

This little brown bat was found grounded outside of a local business in Calgary, AB. At AIWC, his examination revealed no significant injuries or health concerns. We surmise that he may have become grounded during a recent cold snap. The chilly temperatures encouraged him to seek shelter and adopt a torpor state to survive. This happens to many bats while en route back to their hibernacula. Seeing as we do not know where his hibernacula is, he will remain at AIWC for the winter until migration starts again in the spring.

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Little Brown Bat

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