Life Cycle of a Virginia Bat
The Life as a bat in the Mid-Atlantic region can be full of ups and downs, some months the bats are more active than others. They feed better in some parts of the year than others and it all can be related to a cycle, we will call it the cycle of a bats life in Virginia!
January is the start as what we humans known as the beginning of the year, but for a bat, they are almost thru their Winter stage of life, almost exactly half way! During this month the bats are inactive, they have lowered body temperatures and are in a cool area, their breathing and metabolic rates are really slow, so they use less energy. You may see the bats out in a strange warm January night, but its unlikely.
February is a month where the bats are still hibernating, they are reaching the end of this period and their fat reserves are really low, the odds increase in this month that you may see a bat feeding in the evening to attempt to build its fat reserves back up.
March is the month that bats will begin emerge from hibernating, they will have limited movement because the lack of food that is available to them, remember, and bats eat insects! (not a lot of insects out in March) So their movement in this month will be weather dependent.
April is the month that the bats will begin to feed every night, they are hungry creatures and they eat all night long, building back up the fat reserves that they burned off all winter, if we have a cold snap, they will slip back into a state called torpid( lowered body temp and inactive for a period of time).
May is the month that bats are fully active and feeding every night, the female bats will start to group up and form a maternal colony. They will start looking for a place to establish their nursery site in places like buildings, trees and attic areas of homes.
June is the month that the female bats will give birth to their young, the young consist of a single bat that will feed off of its mothers milk for about 8 weeks, the baby bats are born naked, meaning they have no hair, this is why that it is very important for the maternal colony to be in a warm, almost hot place such as an attic area of a home.
July is the month that the young bats will continue to feed off of their mother, some of the bats that were born early will be almost to the stage in their life where they can fly, this is when homeowners may find these juvenile bats in the basements and other places that seem strange, these young bats will often crawl into places in search of thing, exploring, all us humans did the same thing!
August id the month that the majority of the juvenile bats will start to fly, they will learn to catch their own insects and be self-dependent. The colony will start to dissipate and form mating colonies.
September is the month that mating season begins in our region, males will use vocalization to attract females. they also eat lots of food in order to build up enough fat reserves for the fast approaching winter.
October is the month that the weather will change and the bats finish up trying to eat every bug in site, they will start to slip in and out of torpid toward the end of the month when it gets colder. You will notice that the bat activity will be drastically reduced this month.
November is the month that most bats will be where they are going to spend the winter, this will be their roost, you may see them out and about on warmer nights when a stray insect is possible, but the feeding activity has almost stopped.
December is the month that most bats will hibernate the entire month, there is no insects to be had and there is not many warm days that will bring the bats out. The bat activity this month is almost nonexistent.
This is a brief summary of a bats life, as you seen it makes a full circle, unlike our own lives, the bats are very dependent on the weather and its patterns to survive, if we have a late winter, it may be possible that some bats will die, not having enough fat stored to get thru a long winter.
We have seen a disease called white noise pop up in our area over the last several years, if you find this interesting and would like to keep track of this disease in our area, check back on our white noise page. We will update it frequently.