Eastern Small-footed Myotis (Myotis leibii)
The eastern small-footed myotis is a threatened species that is a medium brown on their upper parts and a yellowish-brown on their bellies. Their faces and feet are much darker and almost black in color which gives them a “masked” look. These bats are one of the smallest in the Myotis genus, as they only grow to 3 inches long with a wingspan of less than 9 inches. As their name suggests, they have small feet in comparison to the rest of their bodies.
Range and Presence in Kentucky
The eastern small-footed myotis is a threatened species that is found in the eastern part of North America. Their range spans from southern Ontario and Maine, through the Appalachian Mountains, and throughout southern Illinois, Missouri, southeastern Oklahoma, central Arkansas, and central Tennessee.
In Kentucky, they are found through the Cumberland Plateau and Cumberland Mountains as well as the Mammoth Cave Plateau and the Kentucky River Palisades. They are closely associated with massive cliff line habitats of that eastern part of Kentucky.
Habitat and Behavior
There is little that is known about their foraging habits, but scientists theorize that they forage in the areas of forests and forest edges. In the summer, they roost singly, except for small maternity colonies that contain about 20 females. They roost in abandoned buildings, bridges, rock shelters, and fissures along the cliff lines. In the winter, they are mostly seen hibernating in caves but are also known to use rock shelters, fissures, and even mines or quarries. For warmth, they wedge themselves as deep into the rock as possible.
Because there is not a lot known about their habits, it is hard for scientists to make definitive statements about their numbers over time. There has been a conversion of much of their preferred habitat into farmland and human occupation. Although this may be the case, they have adapted well to using other roosting sites like bridges and abandoned buildings. They are a species that is also affected by white-nose syndrome.
Rafinesque’s big-eared bat
Little brown bat
Virginia big-eared bat
Big brown bat