Gray Bat

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					 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service


Gray Bat
Myotis grisescens
Description - The gray bat occurs in      and females hibernate together in the      Contact one of the following
the southeastern and midwest United       winter in caves that are large and         agencies for assistance:
States. It is found in the western part   cold, and contain complex caverns.
of Virginia. This short-eared,            Almost all gray bats hibernate in five     Virginia Department of Game and
medium-sized bat may reach a length       caves in the southeastern U.S. The            Inland Fisheries
of 3.5 inches. Its fur is short and       gray bat forages over water and            P.O. Box 11104
reddish-brown with white                  forested areas. Their diet consists of     Richmond, Virginia 23230
underparts.                               aquatic insects, especially mayflies.      (804) 367-1000


Life History - The gray bat is found      Conservation - The gray bat was            Virginia Department of
in Virginia during the summer and         federally listed as an endangered             Conservation and Recreation
migrates south for the winter. This       species on April 28, 1976. These           Division of Natural Heritage
species lives in caves year-round, but    bats have declined primarily due to        217 Governor Street, 3rd Floor
during the summer uses multiple           human disturbance. This species is         Richmond, Virginia 23219
caves. In summer, the gray bat uses       easily disturbed by human activity         (804) 786-7951
caves that are warm and have              including vandalism,
flowing water or are close to rivers      commercialization of caves, and            U.S. Fish and W ildlife Service
or reservoirs. Mating occurs in the       frequent visitation. Simply shining a      Virginia Field Office
fall, and one young per female is         light on a cluster of young bats can       6669 Short Lane
born in late May or early June.           cause them to drop from the ceiling        Gloucester, Virginia 23061
Young can fly by early to mid-July.       to their death. Other threats include      (804) 693-6694
Females are very specific in selecting    impoundments, deforestation,
the caves in which they give birth        pesticide poisoning, and other             References
and raise their young. All maternity      contaminants.
caves contain a stream, therefore                                                    Dalton, V.M. and C.O. Handley, Jr.
fewer than five percent of all caves      W hat You Can Do To Help - Avoid           1991. Gray myotis. Pages 567-569
are suitable for use by pregnant          using pesticides and other chemicals       in K. Terwilliger, ed. Virginia’s
females. Females migrate in early         near caves and waterways. Do not           Endangered Spcies, Proceedings of a
September, while males and                enter gated caves or mines. These          Symposium. McDonald and
juveniles migrate in mid-October.         gates have been installed to protect       W oodward Publishing Company,
Some individuals migrate up to 300        bats and human safety. Cave habitats       Blacksburg, Virginia.
miles to their winter cave. Males         are fragile and easily disturbed; if you
                                          must enter a cave, do so only as an        U.S. Fish and W ildlife Service.
                                          observer and leave everything as you       1980. Selected vertebrate
                                          found it. Never shoot, poison, or          endangered species of the seacoast
                                          otherwise harm bats. Bats are              of the United States-the gray bat.
                                          extremely beneficial insect eaters,        Biological Services Program,
                                          and nuisance bats can be encouraged        FW S/OBS-80/01.42.
                                          to move elsewhere. If you find a bat,
                                          please do not disturb it!                  U.S. Fish and W ildlife Service.
U.S. Fish and W ildlife Service                                                      1982. Gray bat recovery plan.
Virginia Field Office                                                                Atlanta, Georgia.
6669 Short Lane
Gloucester, Virginia 23061
(804) 693-6694
http://www.fws.gov
August 1999