Ozark Big-eared Bat (Corynorhinus townsendii ingens)
Listed: November 30, 1979
For questions regarding the Ozark big-eared bat in Arkansas, please contact Pedro Ardapple-Kindberg at email@example.com or (501) 513-4485.
The Ozark big-eared bat is a medium sized bat with a total body length of 98 mm and weighs between 7 and 12 grams. Their distinctive long ears give them their name. They also have mitten-shaped facial glands on either side of their snout. Fur color ranges from light to dark brown depending on age and subspecies. Females have a single pup in May or June after a three month gestation. The bat pups can survive on their own by two months of age.
Ozark big-eared bats eat mostly moths while in flight. Bats are the only major predator of night flying insects; a single bat can consume between 600 - 1200 mosquitoes and other insects in just one hour. A nursing female can eat more than her body weight in insects in one night—up to 4,500 mosquitoes and other insects. Bats also consume pests such as the cucumber beetle and corn earworm moth, both of which can cause millions of dollars in crop damage each year. Other species of bats are important pollinators and seed dispersers.
Ozark big-eared bats are found primarily in the karst area of Arkansas. They inhabit caves year round, and often use the same cave during the summer and winter. These bats select caves that are surrounded by mature hardwood forest of hickory, beech, and maple, and forage along edge habitats of intermittent streams and mountain slopes. During the active season, Ozark big-eared bats emerge from caves about 45 minutes after sunset and do not return until sunrise. In winter, they usually hibernate near cave entrances just beyond the twilight zone.
Why is it Endangered?
This species is intolerant to human disturbance. Human presence in caves during the non-active season causes bats within range of any light or sound to at least partially arouse from hibernation, which depletes the energy reserves meant to sustain the bat through winter. Other threats that have contributed to the Ozark big-eared bat's decline include commercialization of caves, loss of summer habitat through deforestation, pesticides and other contaminants, and most recently, the fungal disease white-nose syndrome (WNS).
WNS was detected in Arkansas in 2014 and may affect the Indiana bat population.
Check the links in the sidebar to learn more about WNS.
Many private and public caves have been closed to public access to reduce stress and/or damage to bats and their habitats and to prevent the further spread of WNS in Arkansas. Cave gates that limit human disturbance of the bats and/or their habitat are a good way to protect these animals. The Partners for Fish and Wildlife program can help provide funding and expertise if you are interested in protecting your property from trespassing and vandalism with a gate over the cave mouth. Contact Joe Krystofik at firstname.lastname@example.org or 501-513-4478 for more information about cave gates and cave protection.
Efforts are also being made to educate people about WNS and WNS decontamination procedures to reduce the risk of transmission of the the fungus to other bats and/or habitats. You can find the full decontamination guidelines here.
You can learn more about Ozark big-eared bat recovery in the Ozark Big-eared Bat Recovery Plan (1995) and the Ozark Big-eared Bat 5-Year Review (2008).
Range in Arkansas: