Mammals of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Little Brown Bat - Myotis lucifugus
Vespertilionidae Members:
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Distribution In NC, it occurs throughout the mountains, sparingly over much of the Piedmont, but in the Coastal Plain occurs essentially in the northern part of the province, though one was captured in a mist net and measured by experts in Craven County in April 2007.

Occurs from coast to coast, one of the broadest ranges for any bat species; ranges from Alaska to Newfoundland, south to the Gulf Coast states.
Abundance Strongly declining, owing to White Nose Syndrome. Not as numerous as would be expected in NC, as it is (or was before this fungal disease was discovered) a very common species across most of its range. In NC, widespread but uncommon over most of the mountains and Piedmont foothills, very rare to rare over most of the Piedmont, and rare to locally uncommon in the northern Coastal Plain. Might possibly be absent in some counties in the central and southeastern Piedmont. Since about 2009, numbers have greatly declined in winter populations in caves in the mountains. In 2022, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission moved the species to the State Endangered list.
Seasonal Occurrence Possibly a migrant in some areas, but generally believed to be non-migratory in most regions of the state. Hibernates in winter.
Habitat In the warmer months, breeds and roosts mainly in buildings, especially attics. Forages at night over ponds, rivers, creeks, and some forests. In winter, essentially all members of the species roost in caves and mines, though some in the eastern parts of the state must roost in buildings or other sheltered areas, as caves and mines are very rare there.
Behavior Roosts in moderate sized groups in winter. In summer, females form fairly large maternity colonies in attics and other places in buildings.
Comments Bat biologists have been alarmed at the great decline, over 90%, in the overall population of this formerly very common bat species, as a result of White Nose Syndrome. Thankfully, it has a huge range, and it does not roost in such very large colonies as do the Gray Bat and a few other species. Thus, despite its huge losses, the future of the species is not quite as bleak as it is for other Myotis species, though NatureServe has moved the Global Rank to G3 in recent years. Mist-netting operations in the state, especially in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain, have greatly helped to clarify the range of the Little Brown Bat. However, most of that "clarity" is negative, at least over all of the Piedmont away from the foothills, as hardly any Myotis species are mist-netted in this large central area of the state. Only a few have been mist-netted, so far, in the Coastal Plain, and these mostly just in counties close to the VA border.
Origin Native
NC List Official
State Rank S2 [S2S3]
State Status E
Global Rank G3G4
Federal Status
subspecies Myotis lucifugus lucifugus
other_comName Little Brown Myotis
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.