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Western Red Bat
Lasiurus blossevilli

Western Red Bat
Western Red Bat

  • Total length: 11.0 cm; wingspan: 28.0 cm; weight:11 grams.
  • Ears: 1.0-1.5 cm long.
  • Easily recognized by the unique fur colour varying from orange to rusty red; males tend to be brighter in colour.
  • Dense fur on back is long and soft; underside is paler.
  • Upper surface of tail and hind feet are thickly furred.

Habitat map not available.


British Columbia Red List

Special Significance

The Western Red Bat appears to be one of the rarest bats in the province and Canada, known from the Skagit Valley and Okanagan Falls. The development of management plans to protect this rare bat requires further research to delimit its range in British Columbia and identify critical roosting and foraging habitats. This species continues to be threatened by habitat loss as remaining riparian woodlands are cleared for development. Conservation of riparian areas, which support a diversity of insects, is an important factor.


  • In British Columbia, recorded from the Skagit Valley and Okanagan Valley, near Okanagan Falls.
  • Restricted to lower elevations.


  • Western Red Bats are associated with large deciduous trees along rivers (riparian habitat); cottonwoods and aspen are presumably used for roosting.
  • Red Bats hunt over streams and forest openings and clearings.
  • Migration and winter range of this species is poorly documented; bats may overwinter in British Columbia instead of migrating.
  • Western Red Bats overwinter in the coastal lowlands of California, roosting in large shrubs and fruit trees.


  • Very little is known about breeding.
  • Eastern Red Bats mate in flight during fall migration.
  • Western Red Bats give birth in June or early July; three young are most common.
  • Young bats remain at the roost while the female hunts at night, however she carries her young when changing roost locations; the young can fly at 3 to 6 weeks.

Food Habits

  • Large moths are the main prey item, but also eat beetles and grasshoppers.
  • Red Bats are very late feeders; foraging one or two hours after sunset.
  • A Red Bat usually catches its prey in the tail membrane which can be curled into a pouch; these bats are fast flyers.

Interesting Facts

  • Despite their bright colour, Western Red Bats are well-concealed when roosting because they resemble dead leaves.
  • Eastern Red Bats will eavesdrop on the sonar calls of other Red Bats to locate potential insect prey.
  • In contrast to bats that hibernate where the temperature is relatively stable, Red Bats hibernate in trees where they are exposed to fluctuations in temperature; their thick fur, small ears, and furred tail help to minimize heat loss.


  • Bat encounters are most common during the summer when bats enter houses and sheds through open windows, chimneys or wall cracks. A flying bat will generally leave on its own if windows and doors are opened and lights are turned off.
  • Avoid handling bats, however if it is necessary, wear leather gloves. If a bat is asleep in your house, a pillow case can be used to gently grasp the bat (wear thick gloves as a precaution against bites). The bat will be trapped when the case is turned inside out; once outdoors, the bat can be released.
  • Exclude bats from buildings by sealing up the place of entry after bats leave at night to feed. Be sure not to seal off a nursery colony during summer or the flightless young will perish. Ideally, all openings should be sealed in the winter when the bats have left the structure to hibernate elsewhere. If you want to encourage bats into your neighbourhood, consider building a bat house.
  • While bats, like other mammal species, can carry rabies, scientists estimate that only 1 out of every 200 bats are affected. The best precautions are to avoid handling bats or any other wild animals, and make sure pets are vaccinated.
  • Unfortunately, bats tend to be viewed as undesirable by many people, when in fact they perform invaluable ecological roles, such as keeping insect populations in check. All bats are protected under the British Columbia Wildlife Act and cannot be indiscriminately killed.


  • Extensive land development in the Okanagan has eliminated or fragmented lowland riparian habitat.
  • Cottonwood and aspen forest removal.
  • Livestock seeking shelter in aspen copses trample seedlings and other riparian tress and shrubs.
  • Their low reproductive rate means a slow recovery rate after disturbances.
  • Use of pesticides may reduce availability of insect prey.

Management Considerations

  • Avoid the use of pesticides, particularly near wetlands and riparian areas.
  • Protect remaining cottonwood stands and aspen groves.
  • Discourage logging in cottonwoods stands and riparian areas.
  • Restrict cattle access to riparian areas to allow regeneration of trees and shrubs.


1. Nagorsen, D.W. and R.M. Brigham. 1993. Bats of British Columbia. Royal British Columbia Museum Handbook, Victoria, British Columbia
2. Holroyd, S.L., R.M.R. Barclay, L.M. Merk and R.M. Brigham. 1994. A survey of the bat fauna of the dry interior of British Columbia. Ministry of Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection. Victoria, British Columbia.
3. van Zyll de Jong, C.G. 1985. Handbook of Canadian mammals, Vol. 2. Bats. National Museum of Natural Sciences, National Museums of Canada, Ottawa.


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