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Species Description

Hoary Bat

Lasiurus cinereus

Species Image


Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Vespertilionidae


The Hoary Bat has a silvery white, frosted appearance to its fur. The Hoary Bat also has a yellow throat patch. The Hoary Bat is the largest tree bat of the southeastern United States, ranging from 13 - 15 cm (5.1 - 5.9 in) in total length. These bats have thickly furred tail membranes.

Life Cycle

Breeding occurs in autumn, and young are born the following spring. The Hoary Bat usually has two young. Young are able to fly within 3 to 4 weeks. As with all bats the females carry the young only to move them to another roost. Females roost singly in both species and do not gather with other pregnant females to form a "maternity colony."

Natural History

Both of these species spend their days hanging under the protective cover of tree leaves and clumps of Spanish Moss. The area directly beneath the roost must be unobstructed to allow the bats an easy drop at the beginning of their flight. Roosts are usually near a forest edge or body of water. The Hoary Bat roosts at 3 - 6.4 m (10 - 21 ft). The Hoary Bat feeds primarily on larger beetles and moths. Various hawks and owls, Blue Jays, and Rat Snakes are known to prey on these bats.


Hoary Bat Region Map This species is found throughout Georgia and has an extensive range throughout North America. This species is migratory. It has been suggested that male and female Hoary Bats may have geographically separated distributions during the summer months.

Conservation Status

This species is not considered to be threatened at this time.

Similar Species

The Northern Yellow Bat is a yellowish brown, and it has fur only on the basal (anterior) one-third to one-half of the dorsal surface of its tail membrane, rather than all the way to the edge as the Hoary Bat and Red Bat do.