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Bats are mammals, and members of the order Chiroptera. They are the second largest order of mammals in number of species. There are about 1000 species of bats, 14 of which live in united states.
Their fur is yellow to light brown. They have dark wings and ears. They are up to 4â€ť long with 11â€ť wide wings. They have big ears reaching up to almost an inch long and believed to be the longest of any bat in the U.S. There is a flap of skin that stretched between the legs and tail called the uropatagium.
Habits: They are nocturnal, coming out to hunt at night using echolocation. Echolocation is a kind of radar that uses the batâ€™s high-pitched calls to bounce off objects. They can actually â€śseeâ€ť what is around them by how their calls bounce off their surroundings. They roost during the day in trees, caves, barns and farm outbuilding.
Food Habits :Myotis lucifugus is an efficient insect predator, especially when insects are in patches and at close range (approximately less than one meter). Little brown bats, along with many other insectivorous bats, are opportunistic feeders and catch prey by aerial hawking and gleaning tactics. Myotis lucifugus flies faster near the end of the attack, when approaching prey. During gleaning, these bats hover approximately 30 cm from the prey. Myotis lucifugus typically feeds on swarms of insects, saving time and energy to search for food. There is no evidence of territorial protection of feeding areas, but individuals return to areas where they have had prior feeding success.
Myotis lucifugus has different selectivity based upon the arrangements of insects. In large swarms of mating insects, these bats concentrate one or two species to feed on, but when insects are dispersed, little brown bats are less selective and feed on multiple species. Food demand of lactating females increases and pregnant or lactating females usually select larger insects than males or nonpregnant females. Normally, these bats feed on insects whose length ranges from 3 to 10 mm. These bats typically eat half of their body weight per night (when active) and lactating females eat approximately 110 percent of their body weight per night. Myotis lucifugus chews and processes food relatively quickly. Mastication rate is seven jaw cycles per second, and food takes only 35 to 54 minutes to pass items through the digestive system.
Life Cycle: The lifespan of M. lucifugus is extended by their ability to find food and inhabit a variety of roosts. These characteristics allow expansion of their habitat to new ranges, but also contribute to their survival. Myotis lucifugus live approximately 6 to 7 years and often live well beyond 10 years. A 31 year-old male was discovered in southeastern Ontario. Evidence indicates that males tend to live longer than females. Mortality rate is the greatest during the first winter when new pups have considerably less weight than their adult counterparts at the start of hibernation.
Primary activity occurs about two or three hours after dusk and secondary activity may occur before dawn; most individuals return to the roost by four or five oâ€™clock in the morning. These bats usually enter daily torpor. During the winter, hibernation time depends on altitude and location of the roosts. It usually starts between September and November and ends in March to May. The young remain active longer in the fall to build fat deposits to last the winter. Myotis lucifugus does not migrate long distances for hibernation roosts. Individuals travel only up to 100 miles. This species does not show territoriality at roosts, and large colonies of as many as 300,000 bats have been reported in a single roost.
Damage: Indiana bats can become a nuisance in some places where their summer roots have been destroyed due to increasing human populations. Bats will then find their way into homes and attics to roost. Like most mammals in the United States, Indiana bats also may be carriers of rabies. However, documented incidence of rabies infection in Indiana bats is low. It is also very unlikely that humans will come into close contact with Indiana bats for the disease to be transmitted. If you come into contact with a bat or other wild mammals, you should see a doctor to receive immunizations that will protect you from this potentially fatal disease.
Control: Humans also impact Indiana bats by entering their hibernacula for recreational caving. This can disturb bats while they are hibernating and cause them to wake up when there is no food available for them. Many Indiana bat hibernacula have been closed off to humans and a bat-friendly gate placed at the entrance to limit human intrusion.
Myotis lucifugus does not possess a keel on the calcar and has a short tibia relative to the length of the hind foot . Myotis lucifugus lacks choroidal papillae and folded retinas, and therefore does not exhibit eye shine.
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