Cave Myotis Bat At Our House
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The other day I was startled to see a small furry object clinging to an exterior wall of our house. I looked closely at it and realized that it was a bat.
Bats are extremely common in the Tucson area. We have several species of them, including insectivorous bats, and herbivores that specialize in drinking plant nectar. In summer if you go out at dusk or dawn and look at the sky the air will sometimes seem to be full of these little animals. My routine includes taking early morning walks, always before sunrise, and I frequently find myself being buzzed by bats who are looking to eat the gnats and mosquitos that follow me down the street.
Still, it came as a bit of a surprise to see one snoozing on our house’s exterior wall.
It slept peacefully as I observed and later photographed it. It was seemingly glued to the wall, not moving a muscle or opening its eyes even as I fired off my camera’s flash repeatedly.
I’ve identified this bat as a Cave Myotis Bat, a member of a common species of insectivorous bats, and one that shows up often in the Tucson area, based on the fact that it strongly resembles photos of other members of that species.
It is about three inches long, roughly the size of a mouse.
Bats are pretty remarkable animals. Many think that they are related to mice. The German word for bat, “Fledermaus” literally translated, means “flying mouse.” In French, “bat” comes out “Chauve-souris”, or “bald mouse.” In fact, bats and mice are unrelated. Any resemblance is entirely coincidental.
This little bat stayed attached to the side of our house for several hours. With the coming of dusk it took flight and disappeared. It’s anyone’s guess as to why it decided to spend a day with us. As its name implies, a Cave Myotis Bat is most likely to sleep through the day in a cave where it socializes with others of its species. And, incidentally, I was surprised when I enlarged these images to see that this bat had several lice in its hair. That’s almost certainly a consequence of its communal lifestyle, which allows spread of these parasites from one individual to the next.
Images made with a Canon 5DS-R, 180mm f3.5L Macro Lens assisted by Canon 600 EX-RT Speedlite, M setting, ISO 250, f20 @ 1/160.