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Photo by: Sarah Krueger
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Lasiurus borealis (Muller, 1776)

Red Bat

Federal Protection: No US federal protection

State Protection: No Georgia state protection

Global Rank: G3G4

State Rank: S5

SWAP High Priority Species (SGCN): No

Element Occurrences (EOs) in Georgia: 0

Habitat Summary for element in Georgia: Georgia habitat information not available


Description

The eastern red bat has small, rounded ears and long and silky fur that can be red to a golden brown.The hair tips on the back and breast are white. Males tend to be more brightly colored than females. They weigh 7–13 g (0.25–0.46 oz) and measure 109 mm (4.3 in) from head to tail. Their tail is long, at 52.7 mm (2.07 in) and their forearm is approximately 40.6 mm (1.60 in).

Similar Species

The seminole bat can easily be mistaken for the eastern red bat with similar body size and shape as the eastern red bat. However, the seminole bats’ fur is usually bright reddish orange to chestnut or rich mahogany brown, rather than the brick or rusty red of a red bat.

Habitat

The eastern red bat lives in forests, forest edges and hedgerows. It roosts among foliage, usually in deciduous trees, but it will sometimes roost in coniferous trees. This species typically spend their days hanging under the cover of tree leaves. The area directly beneath the roost must be unobstructed to allow the bats an easy drop at the beginning of their flight. Roosts are usually near a forest edge or body of water. The eastern red bat prefers roosts at heights of 1.5 - 6.1 m (5 - 20 ft).

Diet

The eastern red bat is insectivorous. Their diet consists of beetles, moths, ants, leafhoppers, planthoppers, flies and other insects. Red bats often hunt for insects within 500 m of light source. This species is more well adapted to residential areas and can often be seen dipping and diving near street lights.

Life History

During the summer months, eastern red bats are found in various forested habitats including deciduous woodlands with elms and maples. These bats may be found foraging near trails, fields and wetlands. In the fall, the eastern red bats in the north migrate south to warmer climates where they may enter torpor in leaf litter, under pine needles or while hanging in deciduous trees. The eastern red bat mates during fall migration and females give birth in early June to one to four pups.

Survey Recommendations

Classic survey methods for eastern red bats include mist-netting over water sources and the use of ultrasonic bat detectors. Mist netting surveys in Georgia should follow guidelines laid out on our Bat Survey Guidance webpage (http://www.georgiawildlife.com/BatSurveyGuidance).

Range

The Eastern red bat can be found east of the Rocky Mountains from Canada to as far south as central Florida.

Threats

Although eastern red bats are secure over most of their range and not considered threatened, forest fragmentation, pesticides, and wind turbines are all threats to populations of this species. Loss of habitat decreases roosting opportunities for eastern red bats and appears to be the greatest threat to the species. Loss of mature hardwood stands also poses a significant challenge to this species and may increase commuting costs for bats roosting in less desirable areas (Castleberry 2020). Habitat loss is partially due to development into urban areas.

Georgia Conservation Status

This species is not considered to be threatened at this time.

Conservation Management Recommendations

No management measures have been enacted specifically for the protection of eastern red bats in Georgia; however, more surveys are necessary to define habitat needs, dates of occurrence and migration, and population status. Since this species may be particularly vulnerable to collision with wind turbines, management recommendations include raising “cut-in” speeds of wind turbines during peak migration times to limit the number of migratory tree bats killed. “Cut-in” speeds refer to the wind speed at which turbines first start rotating and generating electrical power.

References

Barbour R. W. and Davis W. H. 1969. Bats of America. The University Press of Kentucky, USA.

Eastern Red Bat (Lasiurus Borealis), dnr.wi.gov/topic/EndangeredResources/Animals.asp?mode=detail&SpecCode=AMACC05010.

Eastern Red Bat — Lasiurus borealis.  Montana Field Guide. Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  Retrieved on March 25, 2020, from http://FieldGuide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=AMACC05010

Shrump, A. and K. Shrump. 23 Nov. 1982. Mammalian Species. The American Society of Mammalogists. No. 185.

“Species Description.” Eastern Red Bat (Lasiurus Borealis), University of Georgia: Museum of Natural History, fishesofgeorgia.uga.edu/gawildlife/index.php?page=speciespages/species_page&key=lborealis.

Wilson, N. 1965. Red bats attracted to insect light traps. Journal of Mammalogy, 46 (4): 704-705.

Authors of Account

Sarah Krueger

Date Compiled or Updated

S. Krueger, March 2020