Foraging Areas and Habitat Use of the Virginia Big-Eared Bat in Kentucky


Link to Full Text

Download Full Text

Publication Date

July 1994


The Virginia big-eared bat (Plecotus townsendii virginianus) is an endangered subspecies of Townsend's big-eared bat. Little information exists about the movements and habitat requirements of these bats. We used radio telemetry to determine Virginia big-eared bat foraging area size and use of habitat in Daniel Boone National Forest (DBNF), Kentucky. We attached radio transmitters to 30 males in 1990 and 30 females in 1991. We monitored bats during 3 tracking periods each summer, tracking 9-11 bats during each period. Size of male foraging areas (87.4 ha, n = 6) in 1990 was not different from size of female foraging areas (121.9 ha, n = 13) in 1991 (P = 0.49). Size of female foraging areas enlarged in August, when young became volant, relative to foraging area size for females in May (P < 0.05). Maximum distance any bat was observed from the roost was 8.4 km. Male and female bats used cliffs and forest habitat and were seldom recorded in open flight paths and disturbed areas (P < 0.001). We recommend protection of foraging habitat along cliffs and within known home ranges to ensure long-term survival of Virginia big-eared bats in Kentucky.


Bats, Foraging, Cliffs, Forest Habitats, National Forests, Transmitters, Radio Transmitters, Stream Habitats, Habitat Selection

Document Type



The Journal of Wildlife Management, Vol. 58, no. 3 (1994-07-01).