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The Northern Myotis is a medium-sized bat with dark brown fur on its back and paler fur on its underside. It is very similar in colour and size to the Little Brown Myotis, but the ears are longer (extend beyond the nose when pressed forward) and the tragus (fleshy projection that covers the entrance of the ear) is long, slender and pointed. Sometimes the Northern Myotis and Little Brown Myotis use the same roosts or hibernacula and it is difficult to tell the species apart. The Northern Myotis used to be called the northern long-eared bat.

Wingspan: 23 to 27 cm (9 to 11 in), Weight: 6 to 9 g (0.2 to 0.3 oz).

Report Northern Myotis sightings to

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 Northern Myotis is found in forested areas throughout much of Canada.  In the NWT, the northern myotis has been found north and south of Great Slave Lake and in the Dehcho region.

Range map information

The Northern Myotis is an insect-eating bat. It uses echolocation to capture its prey from tree branches or leaves, as well as on the fly. It often forages for prey in cluttered areas such as forests, forest edges and overgrown trails.

Summer roost sites are most often in trees (in tree cavities and under loose bark), but can also be in man-made structures (e.g. under shingles). Winter hibernation sites (also called hibernacula) are usually in caves or mines.

Both Northern Myotis and Little Brown Myotis are long-living and reproduce slowly, which makes then sensitive to population decline.

The Northern Myotis has experienced dramatic population declines due to white-nose syndrome in eastern Canada and the United States. Numbers and trends in the NWT are not known but white-nose syndrome has not yet reached the NWT.

A fungal disease called white-nose syndrome occurs elsewhere in Canada but has not yet been reported in the NWT. It could eventually spread north. White-nose syndrome is estimated to be spreading 200 to 400 km a year, but can also jump long distances if accidentally spread by humans. A map of its spread is available at

Bats with white-nose syndrome show loss of body fat and unusual behaviour during winter, including flying outside in the day. Bats with white-nose syndrome very often die of the disease.  Northern Myotis is highly susceptible to white-nose syndrome.

Human activities at hibernation sites, such as caves and mines, can have significant negative impacts on bat populations. Removal of trees used by Northern Myotis as summer roosts can affect large numbers of bats at once. To help the Northern Myotis, avoid entering caves and abandoned mines where bats may be hibernating. Before removing large aspen trees, consider whether Northern Myotis may be roosting in them.

In 2013, COSEWIC assessed Northern Myotis as Endangered in Canada because of population declines due to white-nose syndrome. Northern Myotis was listed as Endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) in 2014. A national recovery strategy is available on the federal Species at Risk Public Registry and includes critical habitat identification.

In 2017, the NWT Species at Risk Committee assessed Northern Myotis as a species of Special Concern in the Northwest Territories because of its high vulnerability to white-nose syndrome. In 2018, Northern Myotis was listed as Special Concern in the NWT under the Species at Risk (NWT) Act.  An NWT Bats Management Plan is available here.

Dehcho South Slave