Photo Credit: Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Myotis leibii
OTHER NAMES: small-footed bat
STATUS: Probably occurs in northeastern Alabama because it is known from adjacent areas of Tennessee and Georgia. Distribution maps often depict it occuring in Alabama, but no specimens known from state. HIGHEST CONSERVATION CONCERN.
DESCRIPTION: The smallest species of Myotis with a length of 2.5 to 3.5 inches and weights up to about 0.30 ounces. Can be distinguished by characteristically small feet relative to total body size. The body fur is a tan to golden brown color with its face and ears having a blackish appearance that gives the impression of a masked face.
DISTRIBUTION: Myotis leibii is found in the eastern United States, north to eastern Canada, south to Alabama and Georgia and west to Oklahoma. They are also found in Missouri, southern Illinois, and Arkansas.
HABITAT: Eastern small-footed myotis hibernates in caves, mines, rock shelters, or cliff fissures. They prefer lower humidity near the entrances of these type shelters where temperatures may drop below freezing. They use places such as buildings and barns during the summer time. It is believed that the small-footed myotis feeds on insects located near forests and forest edges.
FEEDING HABITS: Feeds almost entirely on insects such as moths, true flies, and beetles. Have also been documented feeding on small arthropods and some vegetation. Crickets and grasshoppers comprise a large portion of their diet.
LIFE HISTORY AND ECOLOGY: A migratory species, though little is known about its migration and summer roosting habits. Eastern small-footed bats may be found under bridges, in barns, rock crevices, or dilapidated buildings. They have been observed roosting singly and with groups of up to 20. Breeding occurs during September-October, birthing one pup during May-June with an average gestation period of 55 days. Is a nocturnal species feeding primarily one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise, respectively. Has a lifespan of up to nine years.
Harvey, Michael J., J.Scott Altenbach and Troy L. Best. Bats of the United States, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. 64pp.
AUTHOR: Brandon Howell, Wildlife Biologist, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries