9 Different Types of Bats in New York

Types of Bats in New York
Photo by Tom Bixler

Did you know that there are 9 types of bats in New York? Yes, it’s surprising to know the diversity and amount of species that you can find in New York.

Each of these mammals has its unique characteristics. Keep reading to find out more about these fascinating flying mammals.

1. Little Brown Bat

Little brown bats are nocturnal, flying animals. Their fur is cinnamon-buff to dark brown on the back and buffy to pale gray on the underbelly. Their back hair has long, shiny tips. Juveniles have a more uniform dark brown coloration.

Little brown bats weigh 5-9 grams and measure 3-4 12 inches in length. This bat has a wingspan of only 8-9 inches and can reach speeds of up to 22 miles per hour, with an average speed of 12 miles per hour.

The little brown bat consumes aquatic insects such as caddisflies, midges, and mayflies. It also eats gnats, wasps, beetles, moths, and crane flies.

This bat feeds while flying in fields, wooded areas, and near or over water, and it will also consume insects on the water’s surface. Most feeding occurs roughly two hours after dark.

Every night, the bat consumes half its body weight in insects; nursing females may eat up to 110 percent of their total weight. To identify prey, bats use echolocation—short, ultrasonic cries humans cannot hear.

Little brown bats enter torpor during the day and throughout the winter hibernation, a condition of reduced body activity in which temperature, respiration, heart rates, and other bodily functions are reduced to preserve energy.

2. Big Brown Bat

This is also among the different types of bats in New York. Big brown bats have dorsal fur that is reddish-brown and glossy in appearance. Its snout and wing membranes are black and hairless. Its ears are also black in color and are short with rounded tips.

Big brown bats are nocturnal and spend the day resting in sheltered areas. They will use various structures for roosts, including caves, woodpiles, buildings, mines, tunnels, bat boxes, tree cavities, storm drains, and rock crevices.

These mammals usually roost in cavities. However, you can also find them under exfoliating bark. Furthermore, big brown bats frequently use echolocation to move. This means they send out a call into their environment and listen for echoes from various objects nearby.

Big brown bats can use echolocation to determine how far away an object is, its size, shape, and density, and the direction in which the object is moving. Awesome right?

Big brown bats can tolerate cold weather fairly well, but extreme temperature changes can be dangerous. Some hibernating big brown bats will awaken briefly to seek warmer shelter, find water, and even mate.

3. Hoary Bat

Don’t be surprised if you see a hoary bat in your city because it’s among the different types of bats in New York. These bats have blunt, rounded noses, short ears, and hairy tails.

Their unique fur color is the easiest way to identify them from other types of bats. Also, their brown-grey fur has a white tip, giving them the appearance of frost or ash.

In addition, the hoary bat spends most of the day roosting alone before coming out to hunt shortly after sunset. They can be seen gliding and soaring around streams, treetops, lakeshores, and even urban areas searching for insects to eat.

Hoary bats are primarily solitary creatures, though they occasionally form temporary groups to hunt at night. When food is scarce, their territorial instincts seem to grow stronger. They guard their favorite hunting grounds with shrill hissing noises and bared teeth.

Furthermore, the hoary bat likes to sleep in big trees with lots of foliage. This may include heavily mixed forests, tundra, coniferous trees, broadleaf trees, open wooded glades, cloud forests, lowland deserts, and even trees along urban streets.

These bats have a specific way of dealing with cold weather, regardless of where they live. When the temperature drops, they can slow their metabolism and use their thick tail as insulation to stay warm.

4. Silver-haired Bats

The silver-haired bat is a small flying insectivorous mammal. Its name comes from its dark, silver-tipped fur. The fur is dark brown to black in color, with silvery-white tips that give it a frosted or silvery appearance, though the tips can also be yellowish. 

Their wings, ears, and interfemoral membrane are all black. In addition, they are insectivorous, eating a wide variety of night-flying insects, including moths, beetles, mosquitoes, termites, night midges, and flies.

They roost in cavities in living trees, dead trees, and bird nests. These bats can occasionally be found in open artificial structures such as sheds and garages, but they rarely use caves, enclosed buildings, or artificial bat houses. They may also be found in rock, log, or brush piles during migration.

Furthermore, silver-haired bats can be aggressive when caught or handled. They are prone to contracting and spreading rabies, just like the majority of wild mammals. Moreover, most human rabies cases are linked to a virus variant found in Silver-haired Bats.

5. Indiana Bats

Indiana Bats are among the different types of bats in New York. These bats are small, weighing about 7 g and having a forearm length of 35 to 41 mm. They have soft fur and are dark grey or brown in color. 

Also, they resemble little brown bats but have softer, less shiny fur. However, they are so similar that only experts can differentiate them. Males and females look very similar, but females are slightly larger.

Indiana bats spend the majority of their time in limestone caves, though some hibernate under the bark of dead trees. During the summer, they spend the day roosting under the bark of large trees, bridges, and buildings.

Indiana bats are social, which explains why they are also known as “social myotis.” However, they do not have social hierarchies.

Males and females hibernate together in the winter, but adults split up in the summer when females and their offspring join maternity colonies.

Furthermore, these bats migrate thousands of kilometers from their winter hibernation spot to their summer roost. During the summer, they hunt over a wide area. Indiana bats can live in the wild for up to 20 years. In the wild, they have a 15-year lifespan.

6. Keen’s Myotis

The Keen’s Myotis are among the several types of bats in New York. This bat is so morphologically similar to the western long-eared bat.

It is only possible to distinguish between the two species based on minute skeletal variations, and the two may actually belong to the same species.

Their physical traits include long ears, short, broad wings, high frequency, and low-intensity echolocation. These traits are adaptations that improve its ability to fly and forage in structurally complex forests.

While foraging, Keen’s myotis flies rather slowly and is adapted to consume a wide range of insects, including spiders, flies, caddis flies, and moths. It can glean and gather prey as it flies.

7. Red Bat

Red bats are medium-sized with orange coats. They have white-tipped hairs, which gives them a frosty appearance. These bats weigh 7 to 16 g and have a forearm of 37 to 45mm.

Red bats usually feed in a wide range of habitats, primarily on land, along the edges of pastures, crops, or other openings with big deciduous trees. Additionally, they have been found close to pecan trees along rivers and in cypress stands. They prefer wooded areas.

Red bats have been seen hibernating in various places during the winter, from leaf-covered areas on the ground to tree hollows and exposed tree trunks. They nest in vegetative cover during the summer. 

Also, they are well hidden, dangling by one foot, and resemble dead leaves. They are covered in their furry tail membranes. These bats spend weeks roosting in the same place.

8. Small-footed Bat

Small-footed bats are among the different types of bats in New York. They’re about 8cm long and weigh just 4 – 5 grams. 

This bat’s fur is yellowish-brown in color, with shiny light brown tips and black roots. Its underside is grayish-brown, and its wings, ears, and face mask are all black. Males and females are roughly the same size and color.

Furthermore, small-footed bats roost in various places in the spring and summer, such as in or under rocks, on rock outcrops, in structures, under bridges, or in caves, mines, or hollow trees. 

These bats usually change where they roost every day. They hunt for edible insects at night, such as beetles, mosquitoes, moths, and flies. 

Small-footed bats hibernate during the winter, usually in caves and abandoned mines. Compared to other bats, they appear to prefer colder, drier environments, and they will frequent the same location year after year.

9. Eastern Pipistrelle 

You can easily identify this bat by its reddish forearms and fur that is black at the base, yellowish-orange in the middle, and brown at the tips. Pipistrelles feed on small insects. 

They use their tail or wing membranes to stop their prey when they capture it. These bats can even grab some insects with their tail membranes. The bat forms a pouch and bends its head so its teeth can catch the insect.

Conclusion

There you have it – 9 different types of bats in New York and their characteristics. These creatures are neither cute nor cuddly, but they play a vital role in our ecosystem. Thanks for reading!

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