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What are some basic facts about big brown bats?

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Quick Answer

Big brown bats are one of the most common bat species in North America. These bats are key to controlling nuisance insect populations, as they feed on such agricultural pests as cucumber beetles and leafhoppers.

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Full Answer

The range of the big brown bat extends from southern Canada as far south as Mexico and even parts of South America. This widespread species has also been seen in the Caribbean region. These common bats measure 3 to 5 inches long with a wingspan of 12 to 14 inches. Females are slightly larger than males. Big brown bats have fur in varying shades from dark brown to light tan. Typically, the face, ears and wing membranes are nearly black.

Big brown bats hunt their insect prey using echolocation. However, there is also evidence that these bats hone in on the sounds of chirping or chorusing insects to direct themselves towards higher populations of prey. These are hardy bats that often fly through autumn, not entering hibernation until November. In warmer, more southerly parts of their range, they may simply enter a state of decreased activity, or torpor, on cool nights.

Big brown bat pups are born from May to July. Females give birth to one or two young, which they leave in the roost while they hunt. Young big brown bats are capable of flight at three to five weeks of age and grow to full size in just over two months.

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