Evening Bats

Evening bats (Nycticeius humeralis) The evening bat is medium sized and externally nondescript. The pelage is dark brown above and slightly peler below. The ears are short and rounded, the tragus is blunt and curved forward. and the calcar is not keeled. The most important distinguishing feature is the dentition.

Evening Bats are a woodland species that roosts behind loose bark, in hollow trees, in clumps of Spanish moss, beneath palm fronds, under bridges, and in buildings. They like to forage along streams in bottomlands and lakes or ponds, in a slow steady flight. Foraging takes place at two peaks during the night, the first is about one hour after dark and the second peak occurring just before dawn.

Evening Bats in northern latitudes accumulate fat deposits in the fall and may hibernate in unknown locations. In one instance it has been shown that movements of up to 523 km have been made in the fall. It has been suggested that increases in the number of winter roosting bats in Florida may demonstrate fall migrations to southern climes to overwinter.

Evening Bats feed on beetles, bugs, flying ants, various flies, and moths. Natural predators include owls, hawks, Raccoons, Black Rat Snakes and feral cats. The reported lifespan in this species is about five years, but is probably longer. Evening Bats are known to share roosts with other species of bats, like the Big Brown Bat and the Brazilian Free-tailed Bat.

Food: The evening bat apparently is a beetle strategist, although it also consumes occasional representatives of the orders Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera. Of special interest to farmers is the fact that this bat feeds heavily on cucumber beetles, which is a major agricultural pest because the adult feeds on vine crops and the larva is the southern corn rootworm.

Behavior: Evening bats are active at night. They fly high early in the evening and lower later at night. They use echos to locate the insects that they feed on. Evening bats live in groups. They roost in colonies of around 30 bats. In October, females living in northern populations migrate south, as far as 547 km. In the spring, females return to their northern homes to have their young. Males do not migrate with the females. Instead, they stay in the southern portion of the range throughout the year.