We are excited to announce the recent release of the bat pictured here, a Big Free-tailed Bat (Nyctinomops macrotis).
This bat is special for many reasons. The big free‑tailed bat was proposed as a federal candidate species in 1994.
This species is currently on the Bureau of Land Management’s special status species list for Utah and Colorado.
It is considered a Species of Special Concern by the states of California and Utah.
Little is known about population trends. In California, it has only been rarely observed in San Diego County.
This young male was rescued off a fishing boat in San Pedro which makes it the very first officially recorded big free-tailed bat in Los Angeles County.
The Big Free-tailed Bat has several distinguishing physical characteristics.
Like its cousin, the more common Mexican Free-tailed Bat, it has a ‘tail’ that extends well beyond the posterior of the tail membrane.
Members of this species range in color from reddish-brown to dark brown to black and have a distinct glossiness to their velvety coat.
The ears are large and extend noticeably forward past their nose and join at their bases on top of their head.
Their lips are wrinkled, and their legs are short and extraordinarily strong.
This bat forages for moths late at night and makes loud chirps or clicks while hunting that that can be heard by the human ear.
Big Free-tailed Bats typically roost in rock crevices high on cliff faces.
This permits the bat to fall and gain speed to provide lift for flight.
This is necessary because big free-tailed bats have the narrowest, longest wings of any bat in the United States.
Although little is known about this bat, they are believed to be migratory.
There have been records of individuals being found unexpectedly far distances out of their known range, thus they have the reputation as wanderers.
This may have been how this young male found its way to Los Angeles- possibly wandering far off course from his Migratory path south or west of San Pedro.
Big Free-tailed Bats weigh 24 grams on average.
This bat came into care in mid-October at close to 20 grams and was very dehydrated but, gratefully, with no major bodily injury.
With 24-hour care from our bat rehab volunteers, he gained several grams and was flown (in-care) regularly to ensure that he was ready to continue his journey to his winter home.
It was a true honor to have helped him along his way.