Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

previous  | next

Townsend's Big-eared Bat Corynorhinus townsendii (Plecotus townsendii)


enlarge +

Townsend's Big-eared Bat in flight
credit: PD-USGov

All Images


Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Alternate name: Western Big-eared Bat

Family: Vespertilionidae, Vespertilionid Bats view all from this family

Description Has huge ears and a pair of glandular lumps on either side of the nose. The back is pale to reddish brown and the belly is pale buff. Forearm 39-47mm. Uncommon and sensitive to disturbance at the roosts. Subspecies from the Ozark Mountains (C. t. ingens) and limestone caves of Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia (C. t. virginianus) are Endangered.

Dimensions 89-116mm, 33-54mm, 9-12g

Endangered Status Two subspecies of Townsend's Big-eared Bat are on the U.S. Endangered Species List. The Ozark Big-eared Bat is classified as endangered in Missiouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and the Virginia Big-eared Bat is classified as endangered in Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. These bats roost in caves and mines, and have two types of roosts: hibernation and maternity. Their decline has been brought about mainly by disturbance and vandalism of these roosting areas. When hibernating bats are disturbed, they tend to use their fat reserves at a higher rate; if disturbed frequently or for long periods the bats can die. Interference at maternity colonies sometimes results in the death of the young or drives the bats to move to another, less-suitable roost site where the colony's overall mortality can be compromised.

Warning Bats are susceptible to rabies, a serious viral disease that results in death if untreated. Rabid bats rarely attack humans or other animals, but bats found lying on the ground may be rabid. Never touch or pick up any bat. Stay away from any animal that seems to be acting strangely and report it to animal-control officers. If you are bitten by a possibly rabid animal, you must immediately consult a doctor for a series of injections; there is no cure once symptoms emerge.

Similar Species The western analogue of Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bat, it is distinguished by belly fur color. Lacks the leaflike lappets of Allen’s Big-eared Bat.

Habitat Deserts, Scrub, shrub & brushlands, Cities, suburbs & towns, Canyons & caves, Forests & woodlands

Range Plains, Mid-Atlantic, Rocky Mountains, Southeast, Southwest, Texas, California, Northwest

Discussion Forages late, which makes it difficult to observe in flight. Often hunts in edge habitats between forest and open areas.