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The Eastern Red Bat is an insect-eating bat with long, silky fur and distinctive orange to red colouring. It has a furry tail membrane and short, rounded ears. Although Eastern Red Bats are brightly coloured, they are hard to spot because they blend in with their surroundings. Hanging from a twig by a single foot and twisting slightly in the breeze, the Eastern Red Bat can look like a dead leaf.

Weight: 10 to 17 g (0.4 to 0.6 oz), Wingspan: 28 to 33 cm (11 to 13 in).

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There are eight bat species in the NWT - seven confirmed and one suspected. Check out the Bats of the Northwest Territories poster with activities and brochure

The Eastern Red Bat is an insect-eating migratory bat that flies south for the winter. Although Eastern Red Bats have never been captured or photographed in the NWT, multiple sightings and acoustic recordings suggest the species likely occurs in the southern part of the territory. 

Range map information

Eastern Red Bats roost among the leaves of trees, clinging to twigs or to the stalks of leaves. They seem to prefer deciduous trees and can also roost in shrubs, sometimes quite low to the ground. Roosts are usually near the edge of a clearing. 

Eastern Red Bats search for food in open areas, catching insects in the air. Moths make up a large part of their diet, but they also eat other types of insects. In other parts of their range, Eastern Red Bats are often seen feeding on swarms of insects around streetlights.

Unlike most bats, Eastern Red Bats often give birth to twins and can have up to five pups in a litter. In summer, Eastern Red Bats usually roost alone or with their pups. Eastern Red Bats sometimes feed or migrate in a group. 

The Eastern Red Bat’s genus name Lasiurus means “hairy tail”.  When roosting, the Eastern Red Bat often wraps its furry tail membrane around itself like a blanket to keep warm.

During migration, Eastern Red Bats are exposed to many threats including collisions with wind turbines. The Eastern Red Bat is one of three migratory tree-roosting bat species whose Canadian population has declined dramatically in recent years; the others are the Hoary Bat and Silver-haired Bat

Collisions with wind turbines kill many Eastern Red Bats, especially when turbines are built along migration routes or near other key bat habitat.

Other threats include widespread declines in insect populations; loss of forest habitat (especially deciduous forest); and environmental pollution such as mercury, pesticides, industrial pollutants and wildfire smoke.

White-nose syndrome is probably not a major threat to migratory bat species.

In 2023, COSEWIC assessed Eastern Red Bat as Endangered in Canada because of dramatic population declines in recent years. An NWT Bats Management Plan is available here.

Dehcho North Slave / Tłı̨chǫ South Slave