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Tree Bat

Genus Lasiurus are commonly referred to as “tree bats” because they roost only in tree foliage. The desert red bat is a typical tree bat, which is closely associated with cottonwoods in riparian areas at elevations below 6,500 feet.

Tree Bat

Tree Bat

Especially favored roosts are found where leaves form a dense canopy above and branches do not obstruct the bats’ flyway below. Desert red bats are also known to roost in orchards, especially in the Sacramento Valley of California. Despite their bright amber color, these bats are actually rather cryptic, resembling dead leaves when they curl up in their furry tail membranes to sleep.

Tree bats are medium-sized bats with a wingspan just over 30 cm.Tree bats seldom enter caves. They roost in trees during summer days and spend winter primarily in hollow trees. Several species make relatively long migration flights between winter and summer habitats.

The millions of Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) that spend the summer in southwestern United States caves, such as Carlsbad Cavern in New Mexico, migrate up to 1,300 kilometers to and from their winter roosts in Mexico.

Despite such evidence of migration in tree bats, few studies have detailed their seasonal movements in North America.Much of what we know about movement intree bats comes from observations of different researchers working in relatively limited areas and during different seasons. Notwithstanding the scope of these individual observations, when compiled, they can reveal general trends in seasonal distribution.The most comprehensive study to date on movement in tree bats used museum records to map the seasonal distribution of hoary bats at the continental scale.

Tree Bat

Tree Bat

Habits: Tree bats hang from sheltered sites on tree limbs, low shrubs, or large sunflowers. Although well camouflaged, they are sometimes seen within reach of the ground. They truly are a solitary bat, and though several may roost in one tree they are rarely close together. In late summer they may enter caves or buildings.

Food: Food consists of flying insects. Foraging begins earlier than in most bats. After getting a drink from a nearby water source, the red bat starts to forage above the tree tops in a relatively slow, erratic flight. Later in the evening it flies lower and more rapidly, and mat attain a speed of 50-65 kilometers per hour. This bat is also attracted to lights to feed on insects, where it rarely may be heard emitting a sharp chirp, chatter, or squeal. On cloudy days it may forage at any time of the day, especially afternoon. In autumn it accumulates fat to provide energy for migration.

Tree bats are insectivorous. Their diet mainly consists of flies, beetles, and moths. However, these bats feed opportunistically on any concentration of insects they come across. They have a short-range foraging strategy, traveling over woodland ponds and streams. Silver-haired bats do not always feed in mid-flight; they have been ca ught in mouse traps, suggesting ground foraging, and they have been reported to consume larvae on trees.

Tree Bats

Tree Bats

Life Cycle :Bats roost in groups or singly. They use a variety of natural and man made roosting sites such as; trees caves, rock faces, buildings, bridges and mines. Bats use both modern and traditional buildings and structures. Many different sites are used at different times of the year. These can be within the same building/structure or several kilometres apart. Habitats that include trees and fresh water are likely to be particularly attractive to bats. Bats are tiny and can be hidden in the smallest crevices. Without an expert assessment they can be easily overlooked.

Bats hibernate during winter months to conserve energy. Roost damage or disturbance to bats during hibernation will detrimentally affect their survival because they cannot replenish the energy used in “waking up”. In late spring females gather together at a maternity roost to give birth. Damage/disturbance to roosting colonies at this time will also have significant adverse effects on the bat population for that area (especially if it causes the mothers to abandon the roost; the babies will die). By the end of the summer these maternity roots are generally vacated, with the mothers and juveniles finding alternative roosting places.

Tree Bat

Tree Bats

Bats tend to be faithful to their roosts, and return year after year to both summer and winter roosts; this is why roost sites are protected even if the bats are not there at the time. All roosts are important, and disturbance of bats in their winter or maternity roosts is particularly devastating to the bat population for that area. Bats are found not only in old buildings, trees and rural areas – they regularly roost in new structures in urban areas.

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