Gray Bat (Myotis grisescens)

Natural Habitat and Location: Gray Bats live in caves year-round. The gray bat roost in limestone caves. It roosts near and forages over water bodies such as streams, ponds and reservoirs. They live in the southeasteren USA. They are mainly found in Alabama, northern Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee. A few can be found in northwestern Florida, western Georgia, southeastern Kansas, southern Indiana, southern and southwestern Illinois, northeastern Oklahoma, northeastern Mississippi, western Virginia, and possibly western North Carolina.

kubrom,1.jpgGray Bat in its natural habitat.

Niche: The Gray Bats diet mainly consists of insects which live along the lakes and rives. It weight about 7-9 g.( 0.2-0.3oz.). All of the species of Myotis, roost by day and forage by night. The feeding usually alternate with periods of rest, during which the bats hang up side down to digest their food. During the winter, the bats hibernate in large colonies in deep, vertical caves. In the summer, they roost in caves which are scattered along the rivers. Also in the summer, adult females gather in smaller colonies at other caves to give birth. A single pup is born in late May or early June. The young begin to fly 20 to 25 days after birth depnding on the temperature and the size of the birth colony. Colonies of the gray bat travel up to 4.1 miles from roosting to foraging areas. They are active during the night, foraging over waters or along the shorelines.

kubrom,_2.jpgThe Gray Bats digesting their food.

Kubrom,_3.jpgThe Gray Bats are mostly found in the shaded areas in the USA.

Why is the Animal Endangered?: The reason why is because of their habit of living in very large numbers in only a few caves. As a result, they are extremely vulnerable to disturbance. Awakening bats while they are hibernating can cause them to use up their energy, which lowers their energy reserves. If a bat runs out of reserves, it may leave the cave too soon and die. In June and July, when flightless young are present, human disturbance can lead to mortality as frightened females drop their young in the panic to flee from the intruder. Many important caves were flooded. Other caves are in danger of natural flooding too. Even if the bats escape the flood, they have difficulty finding a new cave that is suitable of their well being. The commercialization of caves drives bats away. Any gating on the cave that prevents access or alters the air flow, temperature, humidity, and amount of light is harmful to the Gray Bats. They were listed endangered in April 28, 1976.
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is created to protect the endangered animals. It prohibits unauthorized taking, possession, sale, and transport of endangered species, it provides authority to acquire land for the conservation of listed species, using land and water conservation funds, authorizes establishment of cooperative agreements and grants-in-aid to States that establish and maintain active and adequate programs for endangered and threatened wildlife and plants, authorizes the assessment of civil and criminal penalties for violating the Act or regulations, and also authorizes the payment of rewards to anyone furnishing information leading to arrest and conviction for any violation of the Act or any regulation issued thereunder. We call species endangered because the animals are masively declining versus than threatened. The total population of the present day Gray Bats are over 1,500,000.

Conservation Efforts: Its has been added to the Endangered Species listings. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services has developed a recovery plan that describes actions needed to help the bat survive. A variety of government and private conservation agencies are all working to preserve gray bats and their caves.

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