Virginia big-eared bat

(Plecotus townsendii virginianus)


The Virginia big-eared bat is one of two endangered subspecies of Townsend’s big-eared bat; the other being the Ozark big-eared bat. This medium-sized bat is, as the name implies, characterized by large ears more than 1 inch that are connected across the forehead. It has mitten-shaped glandular masses on the muzzle and elongated nostril openings.The non-migratory Virginia big-eared bat inhabits caves year-round. These caves are typically located in landscapes characterized by limestone caves and sinkholes dominated by oak-hickory or beech-maple-hemlock forest.The Virginia big-eared bat is known from parts of western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, southwestern Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and southern West Virginia.

Why are they in danger of being extinct?

The major causes of the species’ decline are loss of habitat, vandalism, and increased human visitation to maternity roosts and hibernacula. Virginia big-eared bats are extremely sensitive to human disturbance. Even slight disturbances can cause adults to abandon caves, abandon young, and force bats to use valuable energy reserves needed to survive hibernation.

What is being done?

Critical Habitat for the Virginia big-eared bat was designated on November 30, 1979. For specific information on areas designated as Critical Habitat and the primary constituent elements defined for this species, please refer to the Federal Register notice (44 FR 69206-69208)
Rafinesque's Big-Eared Bat Colony - Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]