Spotted Bat - Biggest Bat Ears in the Americas
This beautiful and elusive bat has extremely oversized pink ears and black fur symmetrically splotched with white on the back and also white fur on the belly. These features make the spotted bat a standout among the species of North America. It is a medium-size bat (wingspan up to about 14 inches (35 cm)) but it has the largest ears of any on the American continent. The ears measure nearly two inches (51 mm). It is thought that the big ears help the bat to forage among the rocky outcrops and scrub land in the areas where it lives in the western United States, Mexico and as far north as British Columbia in Canada. In addition, the large surface of the ears may play a thermo-regulatory role in helping the bat dissipate body heat in the desert climate. When sleeping the bat may wrap the ears around its head. The ears and wings are pinkish to grey in color.
Until recently this reclusive animal was thought to be rarer than it actually is. It was not discovered until 1890, and even now isn’t very well known. Highly specific needs for a good habitat doubtless limit its numbers. It roosts all by itself in crevices in the high cliffs of sedimentary rock. Individuals also maintain exclusive territories in which they forage swiftly, well above the ground. It migrates to warmer regions when it gets cold. Females produce usually one offspring in the month of July.
This bat can walk across flat surfaces, apparently with ease, by using its feet and wrists. It has been seen pursuing prey, such as grasshoppers and beetles, in this manner. However, the favorite item of its diet seems to be moths. As is the habit of other bats, the spotted bat removes the head, wings, and legs of these insects before eating them.