Little Brown Bat
The Little Brown Bat is one of nine types of bats which are found in Massachusetts. It is a friendly helper who eats a ton of mosquitoes! We should do our best to care for little brown bats.
Little Brown Bats, also known as Little Brown Myotis or Myotis lucifugus, primarily eat bugs. They eat mosquitoes, midges, flies, and other small insects. They primarily go out at night, using a something similar to sonar in order to navigate through the dark.
In Massachusetts, Little Brown Bats will hang out near homes in the summertime. This is of course great for us humans, because the bats busily eat all the mosquitoes for us. In the winter, around October, they stream from all over to gather up in caves to hiberanate. They hibernate in large groups to stay safe and warm.
It appears that a bat found in or near a home in Sutton is probably going to be a Little Brown Bat or a Big Brown Bat. One way to tell them apart is by their noses. Little Brown Bats have short, furry, squished noses. Big Brown Bats have long, pointed, furless noses. Also, if you can find their guano (droppings) the droppings of Little Brown Bats tend to be smaller than a grain of rice. The Big Brown Bats tend to have droppings larger than a grain of rice.
We were delighted to have these Little Brown Bats come and visit us for a few days in early October 2011. They were on their way migrating towards their winter cave. They hung out in our attic's gable vents, on the outside. That is, they didn't come into the attic. They just rested on the outside of the screen for a few days, gathering up their strength to continue their migration. They were a happy bunch, making little chattering noises to each other which we could hear from the ground below. Once they had eaten a bunch of mosquitoes for us (thank you!!) they headed on their way, moving to a cave full of friends to nestle down into. When bats hibernate they only breathe once every five minutes!
A sad thing has been happening to bats since 2005. A nasty white fungus has invaded many of their caves and in some caves the entire set of bats has died. Over a million bats have been killed by the fungus since 2005. This is causing "white-nose syndrome" - the fungus makes their face all white. Here's the US Fish & Wildlife page on the issue - White-Nose Syndrome in Bats. Scientists are still trying to figure out how to help the bats survive.
Mammals in Sutton Massachusetts
Animals and Birds in Sutton Massachusetts
Sutton Massachusetts Photo Collection