Friday, September 18, 2015

Eastern Red Bat

Like a leaf in the wind - Richard Hermann
From Richard Hermann, Springfield MN
"While taking a stroll past my pecan tree, a dead leaf caught my attention.  Upon closer scrutiny, it was not a dead leaf but a bat!  I took pictures and sent them to MDC.  It was identified as an Eastern Red Bat."
"Look Ma, one hand!" -  Anita Gould- CC
The Eastern Red Bat, Lasiurus borealis, is considered one of the most beautiful bats in North America.  Its dense rusty red fur may be tipped with white, giving it a frosted appearance.  The thick fur extends over its rounded ears.

Unlike many of our common bats, L. borealis hangs out in the forests and woodlands, roosting on branches among the leaves.  It usually hangs by one foot swinging in the breeze like a dead leaf as Richard described.  This helps it avoid predators during vulnerable times, especially when it is a female loaded with babies.  They usually have 2-4 babies which they nurse for 3-6 weeks until they are furred and take wing.
Patient mother and babies - Josh Henderson CC

They are common in the eastern US, a solitary bat until it begins migration southward in groups in the fall.  In southern regions some individuals may hibernate in hollow logs but rarely if ever in caves.  "They forage on a wide variety of insects including moths, flies, true bugs, beetles, cicadas, and even ground-dwelling crickets that are snapped up from the forest floor.  Females give birth to one to four pups during late May and early June."

Back to Richard:
"I often see bats flying above me but never have been able to take it up a notch to identify them.  My door to nature opened just a little more to the good-natured neighbors I share my farm with on dark evenings."

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