The Little Brown Bat of the BC coastal region
The little brown bat is one of the more commonly seen bat species on Vancouver Island. We are losing many of our little brown bats, though, to a nasty fungus that attacks them while they hibernate.
This species of bat is very small, with an overall size of 7 – 9 cm, and weighing up to 14 g. They are brown in color, and can have a wingspan of up to 20 cm. These bats are fast creatures, and hunt by night. You can see them catching moths by the light of the moon.
Little brown bats prefer living in and around swampy areas. Their habitats range from Alaska, down along the northwest coast (including all of Vancouver Island), as far as Texas. They also reside in eastern Canada & the eastern US.
Living in swampy areas, offers easy access to plenty of insects, which make up the majority of the bats’ diet. In addition to insects, these wetland areas also provide bats with water for drinking. Flies & moths are their preferred insects, and they can consume up to half of their body weight each night, feeding on them!
Little brown bats like to capture their meals while in flight. They have very sharp canine molars, shaped in a way that allows bats to hold their prey while they fly.
The females are sexually mature at about 9 months of age, and males, when they are about 1 year old. Mating occurs from early October through to late November. The young are born in late June to early July – usually only one offspring per brood. Young bats grow quite fast, feasting on mother’s milk. By the time they are a month old, they are flying & fending for themselves. Awesome little creatures to observe.