- Common Name
- hoary bat
Pronunciation: lay-zee-your-us sa-near-ee-us
Hoary bats are one of America’s largest and most handsome bats. With their long, dense, white-tipped fur, they have a frosted, or hoary, appearance. Humans rarely get the chance to see these magnificent bats; they are not attracted to houses or other human structures, and they stay well-hidden in foliage throughout the day. They typically roost 10-15 feet up in trees along forest borders. In the summer, hoary bats don’t emerge to feed until after dark, but during migration, they may be seen soon after sundown. They sometimes make round trips of up to 24 miles on the first foraging flight of the night, then make several shorter trips, returning to the day roost about an hour before sunrise. Between late summer and early fall, they start their long journey south, migrating to subtropical and possibly even tropical areas to spend the winter.
Traveling in waves, they are often found in the company of birds, who also migrate in groups. For the rest of the year, however, hoary bats remain solitary. They are among the most widespread of all bats, found throughout most of Canada and the United States and south into Central and South America. The hoary bat is Hawaii’s only native land mammal. Stray individuals have been found from Iceland to Orkney Island as well as in Bermuda and the Dominican Republic.