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Species Description

Rafinesque's Big-eared Bat

Corynorhinus rafinesquii


Species Image

Classification

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

Description

Individual hairs of the fur are bicolored with black bases, the tips of the hairs being grayish brown on the dorsum and nearly white on the venter. This medium-sized bat ranges from 9.5 - 10.5 cm (3.7 - 4.1 in) in total length. The very long ears, over 2.54 cm (1 in) in length and joined in the middle, are the most distinctive characteristic of this species. Two large, conspicuous glands are present on either side of the snout, and form prominent lumps on the top of the nose.

Life Cycle

Breeding occurs in the fall. The female joins with others in a "nursery colony," and her single offspring is born the following May or June. Young are able to fly within three weeks after birth and reach adult size in about one month.

Natural History

In terms of its natural history, this is one of the least known bats of the southeastern United States. It is colonial, and roosts can contain from several individuals to over 100. Females maintain separate roosts in the spring and summer when rearing young, but males and females roost together in the fall and winter months. The Rafinesque's Big-eared Bat roosts in buildings, old mine shafts, wells, caves, hollow trees, areas behind loose bark, and crevices in rock ledges. This species is not crepuscular like most other bat species. Instead, it becomes active only in complete darkness. It feeds on flying insects. Several species of snakes prey upon it. This species hibernates in the winter months, but may be active during warm spells in the southern portions of its range.

Range

Rafinesque's Big-eared Bat Region Map Rafinesque's Big-eared Bat ranges over the southeastern United States, and may occur throughout Georgia.

Conservation Status

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources considers this species to be Rare in the state.

Similar Species

No other bat species in Georgia has such large ears.