Townsend's Big-Eared Bat

Category: Wildlife

Townsend's big-eared bat is a species of vesper bat and is a medium-sized bat. This bat has very long and extremely flexible ears, which earned it its name.

Townsends Big-Eared Bat

Townsends Big-Eared Bat

Scientific & Common Names

The scientific name for this bat is Corynorhinus townsendii, and the common name is Townsend's big-eared bat.


The Townsend's big-eared bat is a brown bat that is nearly completely uniform in color across its body. This bat has extremely large ears that are very flexible, so they hang down around its head and face. The Townsend's big-eared bat eats small insects and rodents and prefers to roost in wide open spaces. This bat can be found throughout North America.


The Townsend's big-eared bat mates in the fall months. The male bat is in charge of the courtship rituals. The female bat stores sperm in her reproductive tract until spring, when her eggs are fertilized. Gestation lasts between 50 and 60 days, and each female gives birth to one pup.


The Townsend's big-eared bat travels in darkness and prefers to roost in open spaces, as opposed to other bats, which prefer to roost in cracks, crevices and other secluded places. It will abandon its nest and other roosting areas if it detects human interference, so it is important not to disturb these bats in their natural habitat. This bat hibernates in large groups in caves, mine tunnels and abandoned buildings during the winter months.


The Townsend's big-eared bat was first documented in 1837. It can be found in Canada, Mexico and the United States. The Townsend's big-eared bat has an average life span of around 16 years.

Present Status

Many other bat species in North America have been affected by white nose syndrome; however, researchers have not found any Townsend's big-eared bats that have been touched by this disease. The Townsend's big-eared bat is declining in population and is listed on the endangered species list in Washington state and on the sensitive species list in Oregon. It is also listed as a species of concern in Texas, Montana and California.