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Silver-haired Bat

Lasionycteris noctivagans

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This is a medium-sized bat common to the forests of Oregon. A typical adult specimen can weight up to 0.5 oz (14 g) and have a wingspan of about 12 inches (30 cm). They have a thick, almost shaggy black fur with white tips, which gives the bat a frosted appearance. Because of this unusual coloration, they are sometimes referred to as Silver-winged Bats. They are somewhat snub-nosed in appearance with rounded, hairless ears and small eyes.

The Silver-haired Bat is classified as a vesper bat, meaning it is active during the evenings. They will leave their roosts en masse at dusk to hunt insects through the night. Common pry include flies, mosquitoes, moths and caddisflies. Most of these insects are caught in mid-air, although occasionally the bats may light on trees or the ground to eat ants, grasshoppers or crickets. Their natural predators include skunks, owls and raccoons.

Reclusive animals, these bats with stay away from human inhabited areas and present no direct hazard to people. However, this species is a frequent carrier of the rabies virus and could infect domesticated dogs and cats if a sick bat is consumed. To learn more about this and other potential wildlife hazards, click here.

Range and Habitat

The Silver-Haired Bat is found throughout the continental United States (with the exception of Florida) and into the northernmost area of Mexico. This is the most common bat species in forested areas of North America. Typical roosting areas include caves, abandoned buildings, rocky ledges, hollow trees and even under loose bark.

Conservation Status

Although habitat destruction and deforestation have reduced the bat’s natural habitat, it is currently considered a common animal with a healthy population.