• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

Bats - Western Small-Footed Myotis

Western Small-Footed Myotis (Myotis ciliolabrum) are common in the Western United States and live in arid rocky habitats at lower elevations. Western small-footed myotis live in habitats such as montane forests, sage steppes, and short grass prairies with rock outcroppings. They can be found roosting in a wide variety of places such as rock ledges, caves, mines and various man-made structures, where they can crawl into tight warm crevices. They hibernate in mines and caves alone or in small groups. To hibernate, western small-footed bats find a tight crevice to crawl into, with their heads down. Western small-footed bats are approximately 3 to 3.5 half inches long. Their ears, wings and face are dark brown to black, with fur color being light tan to black. Western small-footed myotis breed in the fall but sperm is stored inside the female during the winter hibernation. After a gestation of approximately 2 months, young are born in June and July. At this time, females gather in nursery colonies of 10-15. Western small-footed bats feed on flying insects such as flies, small beetles and winged ants. Because of their preference for rocky habitats, they are very agile flyers, locating prey among rocky outcroppings. They often begin foraging about an hour after sunset, often over water or rocky outcroppings. Their flight pattern is slow and erratic, at a height of 3-10 feet above the ground. The oldest record for a western small-footed myotis is 12 years.

For information about white-nose syndrome (WNS) and Wind Cave National Park click here.

Did You Know?

A picture of Alvin McDonald in his caving hat.

Alvin McDonald was the first systematic explorer of Wind Cave. He explored the cave from 1890 until his death in 1893. More...