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Eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis)

eastern red bat

Eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis) is a medium-sized hairy-tailed bat. In their definitive work on eastern mammals, John O. Whitaker, Jr., and William J. Hamilton, Jr. describe it as “one of the most beautiful of all American bats.” It is widespread in Minnesota but not common. It is found in trees near open areas.

During the day they hang by their feet in a tree or shrub with dense foliage above and to the sides but clear below, leaving a clear flight path. They for just a few hours beginning at dusk. They locate their prey both by echolocation and by sight. Males and females have different summer ranges. They are solitary individuals but come together to migrate in flocks of up to several hundred individuals. They head south for the winter but their wintering range is unknown.

Bats are important vectors of the rabies virus but rabid bats pose little threat to humans. They are passive, will not attack, and will not bite unless handled.

Eastern red bat is named for the brick-red fur of the male. It is further distinguished from other bats in Minnesota by white shoulder patches, long tail not extending beyond the wing-like flight membrane, flight membrane near the tail densely furry above, tail hairy above, and the projection partially covering the ear opening hairy at the base.