05.22.2006 - This is a photo of a juvenile bat. The species is Evening Bat. The females usually give birth in mid-April, so this specimen is probably about five weeks old. I found it exactly as photographed here, lying on its back on the kitchen floor. I hadn't handled a baby bat before, as I do no bat work during the summer maternity season, when the young bats are unable to fly out of the house and therefore unable to fly out of my one-way bat exclusion nets or funnels. However, in this case the baby bat had wandered down from the attic, through the walls, and out into the house, so I came out to get it. In handling the bat, I found out that it possesses a talent of which many baby animals seem to excel - clinging. Baby opossums are probably the best, but this bat was incredibly clingy. The thing was downright sticky! If I put a finger near the thing, it was latched on, and very difficult to get off. In the above posture, it's on its back, wings slightly arched upward, toes spread, ready to stick on to anything that might pass by. It was literally as if my hand and this thing were made out of velcro brand hook-n-loop fastening material. I was so moved by this, I had to blow my nose using kleenex brand personal hygene facial tissue, and make copies of the photo with a xerox brand paper copying machine.
There's not a whole lot else to say about the physiology of the juvenile bat. It was pretty much like most babies - a smaller, more helpless version of the adult, with a gummy smile and an annoying whine. There was one notable exception. Many people think that baby animals are cuter than their adult counterparts. This is usually true, on evolutionary theory that it helps in motivating care for the young. (Although "cute" is subjective enough that this could be yet another cart before the horse theory). Anyway, the theory didn't hold for bats. I'd say that this baby was UG-LY! At least the adults are a bit fuller and fluffier. I've read that the young can fly in as little as twenty days of age, but I do not believe that this one could. I didn't perform a test. A simple toss into the air usually solves the puzzle of whether something can fly or not - worked in some of the Salem witch trials, I've heard. However, since a bat is far more sinister and deadly than a witch, I didn't want to risk seeing it get away, as several of the true witches in the trials did. Also of course, I didn't want to see the result that the "toss in the air" test had on the innocent witch suspects. I believe the technical term was called splat.
I mentioned in the 5.21.06 blog post that I caught an adult Evening Bat in a home, and that it had entered the house searching for its baby. I did not find the baby bat on my first trip, but the homeowners called me the following day, because they had. As is usually the case with bats, when it wanted to hide, it remained well-hidden. I can't stress enough the ludicrous ability of bats to squeeze into tight spaces in order to hide - a gap between the cabinets, in the curtains, behind a picture frame - there's no telling where they might be. However, people often notice them when they emerge at dusk and start to fly around the place. In the case of this flightless baby there was no hysterical flinging of the hands in the air in an attempt to keep a bat out of the hair. The baby bat simply crawled out of its hiding place and started calling for mommy. I had already released mommy back into the night sky a day before, so I removed this one and put it back near the entrance of the attic, where I hope it was retrieved. Mothers are usually good about that - and ignore that crap about "if a human has handled it, the mom won't take it back". It aint true.
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You may have seen it or even heard it at night. How is this bat different from other species?
You don't see as many evening bats as you used to because they are declining in number. They are small in size and dark brown in color featuring black wings and ears. The fur itself normally consists of two colors; dark brown on the bottom and a dull gray-tinted brown on the tips. The tail is also furry but only at the base of it and only on the upper side.
The evening bat is similar in character and look to the big brown bat except that it is smaller in size and it does not feature a keeled calcar. The evening bat is distinguished from all other bats because it has a rounded tragus, the small pointed area of the outer part of the ear.
The History of the Evening Bat
The evening bat is an older species that is believed to have migrated toward the south during the change of the fall season. During the latter part of the summer, it builds up fat deposits in the body. The mating season occurs mainly in the fall and the female gives birth in the early parts of the year. When born, the pups are pink in color with no hair and cannot open their eyes. They can fly within the first twenty days of life. The juvenile evening bat is close to adult size at one month of age and completely weaned and able to thrive on their own between six and nine weeks of age, although they will still nurse while learning to forage for themselves. The males leave their roost as soon as they are weaned. The females like to stay around with mom a little longer. During the summer months to early fall, the adult males like to go out on their own until it's time to migrate south.
Once the evening bat senses fall is coming, they will begin their journey of about 340 miles. While traveling, they keep it steady while flying and take time to eat somewhere in the early evening times. Then they fly lower during the nighttime. During the summer months, they consume many different types of insects.
Juvenile Evening Bat Habitat
During the summer months after going out on their own, the juvenile evening bats will settle down in the forest or woods where they will roost in crevices of the trees or even behind bark that is coming loose on the trees. They may also find dwellings in a building. Evening bats normally don't go into caves however, during the late summer they can be seen swarming at cave entrances.
During the summer, they will eat what they can find in the forest and in clearings as well as waterways. they eat cucumber beetles, Japanese beetles, June bugs, and carabid beetles. They are also skilled at capturing flying ants, pomace flies, stinkbugs, and small moths.There are many different species of bats, in fact, there are over 1,000. The evening bat is one of them.