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Mouse-Tailed Bats: Rhinopomatidae

Behavior And Reproduction

When mouse-tailed bats roost they often hang by the thumbs as well as the feet. They emerge from their roosts at dark and begin their search for food. The small mouse-tailed bat has an unusual flight in that it rises and falls, much like some small birds. This species travels by a series of glides, some of great length, and occasionally it flutters, about 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 meters) above the ground.

Like all bats, mouse-tailed bats are nocturnal, active at night. They use echolocation (eck-oh-loh-KAY-shun) to pinpoint, identify, and capture their prey, the animals they hunt for food. In echolocation, the bats call out a high-frequency sound in the ultrasonic ranges, which is above the sounds humans can hear. These sound waves bounce off of objects and echoes or bounces back to the bat. The bat can then determines the location, size, distance, and speed of the object.

Mouse-tailed bats generally hunt in the open air high above ground. With small prey distributed throughout a large space, the bats must cover a large search area to find an insect. Mouse-tailed bats can travel up to 12 miles (20 kilometers) from their roost sites in a single night.

Female bats give birth to one young annually. The young are fully grown and weaned in about six weeks. Reproduction periods of these bats depends upon where they live and their species.


Bats are difficult to study because they fly and are only active at night. Radio tagging, the marking of bats with a radio transmitter, is one technology that researchers are using to study bats. Transmitters are typically 5 percent of the bat's body weight and can be glued to the bat's back or put on a collar. Results from these studies show that long-tailed bats are highly selective in choosing nest sites and sites are usually used for only one day.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsMouse-Tailed Bats: Rhinopomatidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Hardwicke's Lesser Mouse-tailed Bat (rhinopoma Hardwickei): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, MOUSE-TAILED BATS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS