Bats are widespread and abundant in Oregon and play a vital role in our ecosystem.
Oregon has many different types of bats, some of which are federally listed as endangered species.
So it’s important to know what these different types of bats in Oregon look like, where you can find them, and why these animals should be respected and protected.
1. Big Brown Bat
Due to its diet primarily consisting of insects, the Big Brown Bat is considered beneficial for keeping insect populations low.
Generally found inhabiting forested areas or rural townships, this nocturnal creature is relatively undisturbed by human activities.
It can roost in trees or seek shelter behind a brick facade.
Also, these bats in Oregon are one of many that could carry rabies, which makes it important not to approach them.
At the same time, some scientists speculate that their population could rise.
With the increase in global temperatures due to climate change, these animals have been dying during early autumn when food becomes scarce.
2. Hoary Bat
The Hoary Bat is one of two types of bats in Oregon. Mainly occupied, mature, or old-growth forests are characterized by an overstory canopy with oaks, cottonwoods, alders, and conifers.
They primarily roost in trees between 30 and 60 feet above the ground.
However, you can spot them when they’re flying around at night.
Their white underparts with black on top make it easy to see when they’re near a light source.
Though they are currently listed as endangered under the U.S.
3. Silver-haired Bat
In terms of physical appearance, the Silver-haired Bat looks like any other bat. It is pale gray with black patches on its body and wings.
However, unlike most species of Bat that use echolocation (a sound) to navigate the night sky, this Bat is a nectar feeder and uses a sonar system.
In contrast to most bats that look pretty large up close. The Silver-haired Bat is relatively small, with an average weight between three-quarters of an ounce and one ounce.
However, several factors contribute to this small size, including their lifestyle and insectivorous diet (eating only insects).
This type of Bat lives mainly in the southwestern United States but has been found north into southern Canada.
4. Townsend’s Big-eared Bat
Often found in grasslands, deserts, chaparral, and riparian zones.
Hang upside down under bridges with their feet firmly set into the notches on either side.
Townsend’s Big-eared Bat can be identified by their large ears that give this species its name.
Also, they are characterized by a pale underside, dark wings, and a small tail membrane.
These bats in Oregon feed primarily on moths but will also eat other insects.
5. Western Small-footed Myotis
Named for the tiny, clawed toes on their feet, Western Small-footed Myotis is one of the smallest mammals in North America.
A solitary bat, these hardy little guys spend most of their time flying back and forth from trees within a radius of 1/4 mile around their roost.
These agile flyers are often seen zipping around low over the water during twilight hours, looking for mosquitoes and moths, which they feast on by swooping down over the surface or skim-feeding over shallow water.
The rest can be found eating insects attracted to porch lights or flying around as high as 75 feet at dusk during mating season!
They also eat its fruit when lucky enough to spot it on tree limbs below.
6. Long-legged Bat
Their name is derived from their large, dark ears. They have brownish-gray fur on their back, with a lighter color underneath.
Long-legged Bats are among the few types of bats in Oregon that inhabit wooded areas.
Although they are not limited to any habitat, they typically live near small streams or marshes.
They can be found across the state but are more common east of the Cascade Mountains.
With a wingspan of fewer than 12 inches, these are the most miniature bats in North America.
7. Yuma Myotis
The Yuma Myotis is a small bat ranging from 3 to 5 inches. They are black with gray or light brown fur on their backs.
When they leave their roosts, you can typically find them near streams, rivers, or ponds at night.
Also, you may spot them during the day if you see one crawling across the ground or up an oak tree trunk.
Yuma myotis is one of the types of bats in Oregon that is well known.
8. Long-eared Myotis
Of the 23 species found in North America, the Long-eared Myotis is one of the most common.
It prefers forests around bodies of water and wetlands but can also be found in high alpine environments.
They are primarily active at night, foraging for insects within a few hundred meters from their roosts.
They are considered poor hunters due to their small prey capture radius, making them vulnerable to wind dispersal.
9. Fringed Myotis
Common throughout the Western United States, these small bats get their name from the fur on their muzzle that fringes outwards towards their nostrils.
These little guys prefer eating aquatic invertebrates like beetles, flies, snails, and larvae.
They’ll roost under tree bark or deep within caves because they cannot correctly fly if there is too much light.
Fringed Myotis is also one of two bat species that hibernate during winter, typically from December through February.
10. Pallid Bat
One of the different types of bats in Oregon is the pallid Bat. They range from Western Canada, Arizona, and Texas, and pallid bats prefer more arid habitats with dense vegetation.
While they are found inland, they are usually near rivers or lakes but can be found up to 6,000 feet above sea level when close to the water source.
Their population size is unknown, but it is suspected that their numbers have declined significantly since the 1960s due to development, pesticide use, and human encroachment on natural habitats.
11. Spotted Bat
Bats can be tricky to get a hold of, and they’re nocturnal and move fast when startled.
However, bat enthusiasts in Oregon have found them throughout the state’s various ecosystems.
However, some species are more challenging to spot than others, but we’ve put together some helpful information on how you can search for these elusive creatures.
Most bat enthusiasts head towards caves to look for those that live high off the ground and come out at night, like little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus).
Spotted bats (Euderma maculatum) are also commonly found near cliff faces, but they tend not to be shy, so they’ll often fly right past your face while you’re looking up!
12. California Myotis
Known as the California Myotis, these bats are the most common bat species in the northwestern United States.
They live throughout Oregon, though they are typically found near bodies of water, such as rivers or streams.
You may notice that their ears stick out at a 90-degree angle. They are mostly found near water sources during daylight hours.
They will sometimes perch on limbs or branches over the water, especially during the winter when they need more moisture.
Occasionally, they will roost alone on tree trunks that overhang standing water.
13. Canyon Bat
One type of Bat you might see around the beautiful state of Oregon is the Canyon Bat.
These bats like to hang out on the walls and ceilings, so if you happen to be traveling through one of the many national parks or state parks, keep an eye out for these tiny creatures!
They’re often found in one environment and relatively well-adapted to living under trees.
The bat population in Oregon is large and diverse, but you don’t notice them most of the time because they are nocturnal and live in dark places like caves or attics.
Bats have many advantages as well as disadvantages when it comes to living in Oregon.
Some types of bats in Oregon are more common than others, and some are at risk of being endangered in Oregon, but not all types of bats are at risk, so there are always discoveries about these fascinating creatures!