Eastern Red Bat

Eastern Red Bat (Photo Credit: Michael Durham

The Eastern Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis)lives throughout Kansas wherever there are caves and hollow trees but they also hang from live branches of deciduous trees. On the coldest winter days they may find refuge on the ground under leaf litter. They are insectivores that feed on moths primarily which they find by echolocation using the frequency range of 35-50 kHz. They help farmers by eliminating vast numbers of harmful insects and pollinating crops. Although mating occurs in late summer, sperm is stored in the female reproductive tract until spring to coincide with ovulation at which time fertilization occurs. They give birth to 3 or 4 young in June. In recent years it has been estimated that nearly six million bats of various species have succumbed to “white nose syndrome” caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans. The disease is moving west from a cave where it was discovered in New York but may not be in Kansas at this time. A University of Colorado study indicates that wind turbines cause millions of bat deaths annually. Although bats can evade wind turbine blades by echolocation, they are killed by the barotrauma caused by the drop in atmospheric pressure near the blades that causes hemorrhaging in their lungs.

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