Gray Bat

Family: 
Vespertilionidae (evening bats) in the order Chiroptera
Description: 

The gray bat is the largest of all Missouri’s Myotis bats, which include the little brown bat, the Indiana bat, and the Keen's bat. Gray bats are hard to distinguish from their Myotis cousins. Gray bats have fur that is a uniform brownish-gray most of the year, turning a light rusty brown in summer. Other Myotis bats have bi- or tricolored fur, with the tips of each strand contrasting to the base. The gray bat’s ears and wing membranes are gray to black. Its key identifying feature is wings that attach to the ankle and not at the base of the toes, as other Myotis bats’ are. The gray bat also has a distinct notch in the tip of each claw.

Size: 
Length: 3 inches; wingspan: 10-12 inches; weight: 1/3 ounce.
Habitat and conservation: 
Caves found within two miles of rivers, streams or lakes, mostly in the Ozarks. Conservation efforts include protecting known gray bat caves, reducing the use of pesticides (which affect their prey) and maintaining wooded corridors along streamsides.
Foods: 
Insects.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Missouri contains about 20 percent of the total population of gray bats. Most of the known gray bat caves are south of the Missouri River, particularly in the Ozarks, although a few exist north of the river.
Status: 
Listed as Endangered by both the Missouri Department of Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Life cycle: 
Pregnant females roost in maternity colonies in caves separate from males and young females from late May to June. Each female gives birth to a single young in June. Young bats are able to fly four weeks later. Mothers and young rejoin the bachelor colonies in July and August. Gray bats exhibit great loyalty to their roosting and hibernating sites and will return to the same locations year after year.
Human connections: 
Bats eats untold numbers of flying insects, including mosquitoes.
Ecosystem connections: 
Bats control insect populations.