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NATURAL HERITAGE

Karst Program
Cave and Karst Protection

Virginia's State Bat: The Virginia Big-eared Bat
Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus

In the 2005 General Assembly, a rare and unique bill arose - a proposal for adopting a state bat. The Virginia Big-eared bat was recommended based on its name and status as a federally endangered species. Governor Mark Warner signed the legislation, making Virginia only the second state (after Texas) to adopt a state bat. Only 10,000 Virginia Big-eared bats remain nationwide.

The Virginia Big-eared bat is about 4 inches long, weighs less than half an ounce, and feeds mainly on moths. These mammals consume 1/3 their weight in insects every night! The large ears, which it can fold tightly against its head, are this bat's most conspicuous feature.

Habitat - This bat lives exclusively in limestone caves with only a few isolated populations occurring in western Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina. The Virginia big-eared bat uses caves for hibernating in the winter and for summer maternity and bachelor colonies. Human disturbance of these hibernacula and maternity colonies is the biggest threat to the species. Most of Virginia's caves occur in the karst topography west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Offspring - Female Virginia Big-eared bats separate into maternity colonies during the summer months, typically giving birth to one pup during June. The young pup grows rapidly and they can fly within 3 weeks of birth. The young bats are typically weaned, nearly full grown, and feeding on their own at about seven to eight weeks.

Virginia Adopts "State Bat"
www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/documents/vacaveownersnewslettersep05.pdf

Activity "Meet the Virginia State Bat"

- Click on the Meet the State Bat PDF, or the image below; print the images and follow the directions to make a fun hanging cutout of our state bat!
image of VA state bat

NatureServe Virginia Big-eared Bat information including images

www.natureserve.org/explorer/servlet/NatureServe?searchName=CORYNORHINUS+TOWNSENDII+VIRGINIANUS

Karst Species Factsheets

Antrolina lira - Madison cave isopod

Lirceus culveri - Rye Cove isopod

all factsheets require the free Adobe reader.

Karst Watershed Factsheets

Upper James /Roanoke River

Upper Tennessee River

Shenandoah / Potomac River

New River