Mammals of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Big Brown Bat - Eptesicus fuscus
Vespertilionidae Members:
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Distribution In NC, essentially statewide, but only in the past decade or two have records been added for most Coastal Plain counties (through mist-netting efforts). Though often long-considered as statewide even decades ago, in reality the records until recently were generally concentrated in the Piedmont and mountains.

Throughout the lower 48 states and southern Canada, and into Mexico.
Abundance Common and widespread over the mountains and Piedmont; only recently recorded in most Coastal Plain counties, but it is not clear if this is an actual range expansion and population increase or whether it has always been present (and documented with mist-netting efforts). However, certainly not present in the numbers in the Coastal Plain as farther upstate, and thus tentatively considered as uncommon to possibly fairly common in that province. Perhaps rare in some southern counties in the Coastal Plain.
Seasonal Occurrence Non-migratory, but generally hibernates in winter, though can awake and fly briefly during warm winter spells.
Habitat Occurs in a wide array of habitats, from wooded areas to farms to cities and towns; the most urban of the bats occurring in NC, as roosts are normally inside buildings, especially attics. They also roost inside hollow trees or beneath bark, and occasionally around the entrance of caves and mines. It does not roost in vegetation.
Behavior This species roosts in fairly large groups, especially in buildings, of 20 to several hundred; most young are born inside attics. Flies after dark, often around city street lights.
Comments This is the most familiar bat to city residents, and is the one most often encountered in homes. Its range and abundance in the southeastern counties is not well known; in fact, Lee et al. (1982) had no records at all from the Coastal Plain south of Bertie County, but the species certainly must occur now over essentially all of the province. All field guides and reference broad-brush the species' range to cover the entire eastern half of the country. Thankfully, most Coastal Plain counties have been added to the range map through mist-netting, but it seems clear that the species seldom occupies houses and other buildings in this region, or else homeowners would have been reporting them frequently. Thus, its habits and habitats in the Coastal Plain need further elucidation.
Origin Native
NC List Official
State Rank S5
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
subspecies Eptesicus fuscus fuscus
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all database records for species in that county.