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  The Mammals of Texas - Online Edition

Hoary Bat
Order Chiroptera : Family Vespertilionidae : Lasiurus cinereus (Palisot de Beauvois)

Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus).  Photo by Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International.Description. A large bat; ears short, rounded, and with black rims; dorsal surface of membrane between hind legs and feet densely furred; upperparts grayish or brownish, heavily frosted with white; membranes brownish black except along forearm where they are yellowish. Not easily confused with any other North American bat. Dental formula as in L. blossevillii. External measurements average: total length, 136 mm; tail, 57 mm; foot, 12 mm; ear, 18 mm; forearm, 52 mm. Weight, 20-35 g.

Species distribution mapDistribution in Texas. Statewide migratory species.

Habits. This bat is migratory and moves northward in spring and southward in winter. Like its relative the red bat, with which it frequently associates, the hoary bat is more or less solitary and frequents wooded areas where it roosts in the open by hanging from a branch or twig. It is a strong flier, and in association with other bats it is readily recognized by its large size and swift, erratic flight. This bat usually emerges rather late in the evening, but during migration it frequently is observed in daylight hours.

The chief food is moths, although they are known to also eat beetles, flies, grasshoppers, termites, dragonflies, and wasps. Apparently, the hoary bat feeds by approaching a flying moth from the rear, engulfing the abdomen-thorax, and then biting down, allowing the sheared head and wings to drop to the ground. The usual number of young is two but ranges from one to four. In Texas, parturition occurs in mid-May into early July.

This species is a relatively rare migrant through Texas, and it has been recorded in all regions of the state.

Photo credit: Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International.