Bats

A bat held by a gloved hand

Physical adaptations to their environments have given bats their looks. The large ears of this Townsend’s big-eared bat, held by a researcher, help it locate its prey.

NPS

 

The bat species that have been documented in Yellowstone National Park are all insectivores (insect-eaters). A single little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus, the most common of the species) can consume 1,200 mosquito-sized insects in an hour, and can forage for 3–5 hours per night. The distribution of these species tends to be highly localized near sources of food, water, and roosting structures. They roost in natural habitats, including thermally heated caves, as well as in bridges, buildings, and other human structures, which can lead to conflicts with human use and historical preservation plans. Learn More: Bat Population, Habitat, and Physical Adaptations…

 

Quick Facts

Species in Yellowstone

13

Where to See

Dawn and dusk in areas with insects

Behavior

  • Develop and reproduce slowly, which is unusual given their small body size.
  • Typically mate in the fall. In bats that hibernate, fertilization is delayed until the female emerges from hibernation. For most Greater Yellowstone bats, hibernation ends around mid-April and the females give birth in mid-June.
  • Most give birth to one pup a year, although four species in the greater Yellowstone area have two or more pups at a time. These species typically begin flying in 2–6 weeks, are weaned around 5–10 weeks, and become mature in 1–2 years.
  • Few predators specialize on bats. Predators are generally opportunistic and include owls, falcons, hawks, snakes, and raccoons.
  • Of bats that survive their first year, 40–80% survive 7–8 years; many bats live 10–30 years.
 
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