Bat Conservation Projects
One project to construction of an
bats is the cave (called a
chiroptorium) to attract bats. Other activities include catching and placing radio transmitters on bats and tracking them to learn more about their feeding and roosting areas. Another project involves monitoring hibernation caves to determine number of bats present, and educating cave users about
not disturbing bats.
West Virginia Bats
West Virginia has 13 species of bats.
West Virginia bats are members of the bat family called Vespertilionidae, also known as evening or common bats. They eat insects, taking prey on the wing.
Bats considered Virginia:
common in West
Little brown Myotis
The little brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), also called the little brown bat, is one of the most common bats in North America, found in much of the United States, Canada, and Alaska. These bats have a large variety of summer roosts, including caves, abandoned mines, buildings, tree hollows, and cliffs. This is the bat most likely to be found near people’s homes.
Length including tail is around 3 inches, with an 8 - to 10-inch wingspan. Females are larger than males. The glossy, dense fur is brown, almost bronze; wings are black with no fur.
Little brown bats eat a variety of insects including moths, mosquitoes, flies, and beetles. Insects are caught with the wing and tail membrane and transferred to the mouth.
In October and November, the bats leave their summer roots and move to tunnels, mines, shafts, and caves to hibernate for the winter, emerging again in April and May. Bats use the same hibernation sites year after year.
After females leave the hibernation sites, they gather in colonies varying in size from 10 to 100 or more, roosting in attics, barns, and other dark retreats. The males are solitary, roosting in hollow trees, under loose bark, and in other crevices.
Young bats are born in June or July and are
fully grown in by mid-July.
4 weeks, usually able to hunt Females are mature at 8
months, and summer.
Big brown bat
The big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) lives in most of the United States and into Canada and Mexico. Big brown bats are just under 5 inches long with a wingspan of about a foot. Their fur is dark brown with darker faces, ears, and flight membranes. They primarily eat beetles. This bat ranges throughout West Virginia and is found in diverse habitats in both urban and rural areas in belfries, in barns, behind doors, and in hollow trees. They may enter houses.
Big brown bats fly at dusk, and often use the same feeding ground each night. They fly in a nearly straight course 30 feet in the air, often emitting an audible chatter.