California Leaf-nosed Bat
WARNING: Bats are
susceptible to rabies, a serious viral disease that
results in death if untreated. Rabid bats rarely attack
humans or other animals, but bats found lying on the
ground may be rabid. Never touch or pick up any bat.
Stay away from any animal that seems to be acting
strangely. If you are bitten by a possibly rabid
animal, you must immediately consult a doctor.
Leaf-nosed Bat is the only bat in North America, north
of Mexico, with large ears and leaf-like projection on
the nose. It roosts by day, usually fairly close to the
entrance of a mine tunnel, in small groups of up to 100
bats, which do not touch each other. This species
cannot crawl on thumbs and toes like most bats, but
instead often dangles by one leg from a mine tunnel's
ceiling, which it can cross in a swinging stride, using
its hind legs alternately.
house significant colonies of bats, many of which
include threatened and endangered species. Bats are
important and valued members of the environment; they
can eat up to half their
weight in insects each night and are instrumental in
pollination and seed dispersal. Because many natural bat
habitats have been disturbed or destroyed, bats have
found new homes in abandoned mines. Bat Conservation
International, the BLM, the Forest Service, FWS, and
National Park Service have partnered to help protect
vulnerable bat species in abandoned mines.
After dark, this
species drops from its perch into flight. Leaf-nosed
Bats eat various insects, including some flightless
forms, such as crickets and some beetles, which they
probably detect as they hover, swooping down to seize
them from the ground. After feeding for about an hour,
they retreat to their night roosts in a sheltered area.
They do not hibernate. Male California Leaf-nosed Bats
occupy bachelors' quarters in July and August, soon
thereafter joining the females for the mating season.
hibernate in caves or mines where the temperature is 54
degrees F or cooler, but normally above freezing
favoring well ventilated areas. If the temperature near
the entrance becomes too cold
they may move deeper into the cave to gain stability.
Maternity colonies are usually located in warmer parts
of caves and during the maternity period males appear to
be solitary. Although no long distance migrations are
known, like many bats they return to the same roost each
year. Western populations of this bat are stable
however eastern populations are endangered.