Eastern Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family:    Vespertilionidae
Size:    Length: 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 cm)  Wingspan: 6 to 7 inches (15 to 18 cm)
Weight: 0.32 to 0.5 ounce (9 to 14 grams)
Diet: Flying insects such as moths, beetles, crickets, flies and mosquitoes
Distribution: Canada and Eastern U.S., Central America
Young:  2 to 5, once per year
Animal Predators:  Birds of prey, opossums, blue jays, hawks, owls, crows
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: Young: Pup  Group: Colony
Lifespan: Unknown



·       The scientific name means: Lasiurus—hairy tail (Greek), borealis—northern (Latin).

·       Eastern red bats are very fast flyers—they have been clocked at 40 mph (64 kph) in level flight.

·       Bats are the only mammals capable of true flight.

·       Although “blind as a bat” is a common saying, it is inaccurate, because all bats have vision.



The red fur of eastern red bats is tipped with white, giving them a frosted look. Their large ears are rounded. Females are paler in colour that males, with more white in their fur. 



Eastern red bats live in forested areas ranging from southern Canada through the United States and Central America. Red bats usually live in areas that are not overly populated by humans. Most red bats fly south for the winter, although some may hibernate in hollow trees.  


Feeding Habits

Just before dark, they fly off in search of insects, such as moths, beetles, crickets, flies and mosquitoes. Red bats detect their prey using echolocation. In other words, they emit a high-pitched sound, and depending on the sound that bounces back, they can tell whether there are any objects or prey nearby, as well as the size, distance and movement. Some insects, such as moths, can hear the bat’s high-pitched sounds and will try to get away diving towards the ground. In cases where people have believed that a red bat was diving towards them to attack, the bat was most likely trying to capture an insect.



Mating takes place during late summer, and is usually performed while in flight. The female roosts alone, unlike most other bats, who gather in colonies of pregnant females. Eastern red bats have an average of three to four offspring per litter, more than any other North American bat. The young bats cling to their mother’s fur with their teeth and claws, and begin to fly by the time they reach three to five weeks of age. They are weaned at approximately the same time. They do not begin to mate until they are at least one year old.



Eastern red bats are solitary bats that tend to live and hunt alone. During the day, they hang from a tree branch by one leg, in order to look like a leaf in case they are spotted by bird predators. Eastern red bats contract rabies in lower numbers (less than 0.5 percent of bats) than larger mammals such as canines. They usually do not become aggressive when infected, and often die shortly after contracting rabies.



Red bats cover a wide range. They are not easily affected by distance, like other bats living in caves, since they reside mainly in trees. In Europe, bats are protected under the Wildlife Order of 1985. This order is very strict—it is not only illegal to kill or injure a bat, but disturbing a roosting bat, handling a bat, or possessing a bat (alive or dead) are also against the law. Even photographing a bat is forbidden without a license. The public however, is allowed to care for an injured bat as long as the bat is set free once recuperated.











Red Bat Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US

Encyclopedia of Animals, Fog City Press, 1993

Mammals of the Canadian Wild. Camden House Publishing, 1985