- True to its name, the eastern small-footed bat’s (myotis) feet are only 7-8 mm long, less than 1cm!
- This bat is one of the smallest and rarest bats in North America, only about 8 cm long and just 4-5 grams (roughly the weight of a nickel).
- Their wingspan is 21-25 cm.
- Males and females are similar in color and size.
- This bat’s fur has black roots and shiny light brown tips for an overall yellow-brown appearance. Its face mask, ears and wings are black, and underside is gray-brown.
- A nocturnal hunter, the eastern small footed bat hunts for primarily flying insects including beetles, mosquitos, moths, and flies.
Habits and Reproduction
- Mating is usually in late summer or fall but occasionally happens in winter.
- Both males and females have multiple mates.
- Females give birth once a year between May and July. When they give birth they’re often found in large groups of mostly females called maternity colonies.
- At birth, eastern small-footed bats weigh 20 to 35% of their mother’s weight. This is large for a newborn explaining why the mother has one at a time.
- Eastern small-footed bats can live 6-12 years in the wild.
- In the spring and summer, eastern small-footed bats roost in various habitats such as rock crevices, rock outcrops, tunnels, buildings, underneath bridges, caves, mines, or tree hollows.
- In summer, these bats often change their roosting locations every day.
- In winter, these bats often hibernate in the coldest parts of shallow (less than 150 meters long) caves and mines. They will return to the same hibernation site every year.
- White-nose Syndrome (WNS) has led to catastrophic declines of bat populations in north-eastern North America. WNS is caused by a fungus that likely originated in Europe. It grows in humid, cold environments, typical of caves where bats hibernate.
- It was first identified in a cave near Albany, New York in 2006. By 2010, WNS was confirmed in Ontario. The mortality rates at infected hibernation sites in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick are over 80%.
- WNS is expanding in Canada at average rate range of 200-400 km/yr. If the spread of WNS continues at the current rate, the entire Canadian population would likely be impacted within 11-22 years.
- Please report any unusual bat activity such as flying outside in daytime or deaths to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and Forestry at 800-667-1940.
- You can help reduce the spread. Do not enter non-commercial caves and abandoned mines where bats may be present.
For more information about the Eastern Small-footed Bat in the Georgian Bay area, contact:
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
7 Bay Street
Parry Sound, Ontario