Red Bat

Photo of the Red Bat/Murci������lago Rojo


Red Bat (Eng.), Murciélago Rojo (Sp.), Lasiurus borealis (Sci.). Native, Eastern North America – also known in Bermuda, the Bahaman islands and the Greater Antilles Islands including the Puerto Rico archipelago.

Photo: © 2010 – Chris Harshaw. Information compiled by Alan Mowbray, USDA Forest Service, El Yunque National Forest.

General Information

Taxonomy: ClassMammalia;Order Chiroptera;FamilyVespertiliopidae; GenusLasiurus; SpeciesL. borealis.


Red Bat males have reddish-gold fur, while females are chestnut colored. Both males and females have long, silky fur with white shoulder patches and whitish frosting on the tips of the fur. Adults weigh between 0.3 and 0.5 ounces (9.4 and 14 grams) with a total body length of 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10.1 centimeters) and a wingspan of 14 inches (35.5 centimeters).  


L. borealis is a nocturnal insectivore, feeding during evening hours, mainly on moths, but also on flies, beetles and various other insects. Prey is detected by echo-location usually foraging in open spaces because of its body size and wing shape, but also along narrow streams and roads. Mating occurs from late summer to autumn – the male sperm is stored in the female’s reproductive tract until spring when ovulation and fertilization occur. Females give birth to three or four young in June, roosting with the young until they are weaned. The young will fly at 3 to 4 weeks and are weaned a few weeks later. Males roost alone during the summer months. Roosting occurs in live or dead leaves on the branches of hardwood trees.


The Red Bat occurs in forests and forest edges. It roosts among tree foliage. Its coloration often blends in with the foliage! When the hang upside down, they resemble dead leaves. This animal can occasionally be spotted in the early evening hours in areas bordering the El Yunque National Forest’s boundaries.


L. borealis is listed as least-concernedby the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), but the species may possibly be in decline due to the potentially negative effects of parasites, rabies and the recently encountered bat disease Mycoses, the so-called “white-nose syndrome”.