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Pallid Bat (Antrozous pallidusare) Common throughout its range, the pallid bat occurs in arid and semi-arid regions throughout Northern United States. Pallid bats eat beetles, grasshoppers, and moths, and they forage for slow-moving prey, such as scorpions, flightless arthropods, and sometimes lizards, at and near ground level.
This is a large, pale, and yellowish brown bat. These bats have broad ears that are about 2.5cm long. The fur hair is a light yellowish tan color. A large light-colored spot may be between the shoulders. Their nostrils are surrounded by a ridge that produces a blunt snout. The feet are relatively large and strong. External measurements average: total length: 113 mm; tail: 46 mm; foot: 12 mm; ear: 28 mm; forearm: 48 mm, and weight range: 12-17 g. They pale, upper parts are light yellow, the hairs tipped with brown or gray. Underparts are pale creamy, almost white. This large, light-colored bat is relatively easy to recognize.
Behavior: Pallid bats inhabit rocky areas. They commonly roost in rock crevices, caves, and mine tunnels but they also roost in the attics of houses, under the eaves of barns, behind signs, in hollow trees, and in abandoned buildings. The colonies are usually small and may contain 12-100 bats. They usually appear late at night after it is dark.
Food : As noted above, pallid bats are among the only bats that capture insects on the ground. They fly slowly, with much fluttering and hovering, and when prey is located, alight before attempting to capture it. They then carry their prey to a night roost, where they eat and rest. These roosts can be identified by the accumulation of unconsumed hard parts of terrestrial insects, such as Jerusalem crickets, grasshoppers, scarab beetles, ground beetles, and scorpions.
Diet: Their feeding habits are unlike those of most American bats in that they often forage on the ground. They feed on Jerusalem crickets, scorpions and other flightless arthropods. However, their diet may include some flying insects. It has been noted that over 54 different types of insects have been found in their feces.
Life Cycle : These bats mate in late autumn or early winter. Females store the sperm in their reproductive tract until ovulation occurs in the spring. Births occur in maternity colonies in May or June. yearling females give birth to just 1 young, whereas older females may have twins. Pups begin flying at 4 to 5 weeks of age, and normal flight occurs by the age of 42 days.
Breeding takes place in autumn and ovulation occurs during spring. After a gestation period of nine weeks, either one or two young are born in June or July, in maternity colonies of 20 to 100 bats. The young at birth are naked and blind; ears are also closed. The eyes open in two to five days, ears in ten days, and they are then sparsely-furred. Full juvenile pelage is present in three weeks. In four or five weeks the young can fly. There is a strong bond between a female and her offspring; she flies with them throughout the summer, leading the young back and forth between day and night roosts. Females breed in the autumn following their birth, but males probably do not breed until the following year.
Habits: Maternity colony size ranges from about 12 to 100 individuals. Roost sites include buildings, bridges, and rock crevices; less frequently, tree cavities, caves, and mines. Litter size is most commonly 2. The roost is frequently shared with T. brasiliensis and E. fuscus in the West. While groups of males tend to segregate during the nursery period , other males are found within the maternity colony.
An interesting feature of pallid bats is that they fly close to the ground, may hover, and take most prey on the ground, not in flight. Prey includes crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, and scorpions. They will also forage among tree foliage. Pallid bats are not known to make long migrations, though little is known of their winter habits.
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