Seminole Bat, Lasiurus seminolus
Seminole Bats are more common around the Gulf Coast states, where their preferred Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides) roosting habitat occurs, but their range does extend across Tennessee. They were once considered a sub-species of the very similar Eastern Red Bat (L. borealis).
A medium-sized bat with a rich mahogany brown fur coat tipped with silvery "frosting" giving it a deep reddish hue. The deep reddish brown fur on the back contrasts with the whitish throat and paler underside. Distinctive white patches occur on the shoulders and wrists. Ears are broad and rounded. The tail membrane is thickly furred on the upper surface. Females are slightly larger than males.
Length: 4.1 - 4.4 inches
Tail: 1.8 - 2.0 inches
Ears: 0.4 - 0.5 inches
Weight: 0.25 - 0.50 ounces
Red Bat is virtually identical, but is generally a more reddish-orange color.
Generally found in lowland mixed deciduous and pine forests associated with waterways. Their favorite habitat includes Spanish Moss, but they are also known to roost beneath loose bark, in clumps of foliage, and in caves.
Feeds on flies, bees, wasps, beetles, and other insects in-flight at dusk, using echolocation. This generally occurs near the tops of trees, but sometimes over ponds and streams.
Breeding occurs during flight in the fall. The gestation period is from 80-90 days after delayed fertilization. Then 1-4 (average 3-4) young are born in late May or early June. The young bats begin to fly at 4-6 weeks.
Status in Tennessee:
Although these bats are considered uncommon in Tennessee, they are not listed for protection.
•Seminole Bats do not hibernate, but migrate to warmer areas in the southeastern U.S. where they are the most common bat species during the winter months.
•These bats are solitary in nature and usually roost alone.
Best places to see in Tennessee: Flying around tree tops during early evening along southern-tier counties.