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Seba’s short-tailed bat

Carollia perspicillata

Description: The dense fur of Seba’s short-tailed bat is usually dark brown to dark gray in older animals, although quite rare, some are rusty- orange in color.

Size: The adult length is 1.8 – 2.5 inches (4.6 – 6.4 cm). Adults weigh between 0.6 – 0.7 ounce (17 – 20 gr). Adult wingspan is about 8 – 9 inches (20–23 cm).

Behavior: This is one of the largest and most successful bat groups. These gregarious bats roost in groups of 10-100 in caves, hollow trees, tunnels and road culverts. Peak activity is soon after sunset. They can be destructive to crops and are seen as pests. Short-tailed bats enter a state of torpor (a time when the heartbeat, temperature and body activities slow) when food is lacking. Two roost types are: harem (adult male with many females and their infants) and bachelor (adult and sub adult males without a harem). Vocalizations between the males and females warn intruding males and control the females. Harem males also guard the infants while their mothers are out foraging and help to reunite the two.

Diet: Seba’s short-tailed bats, because of their relatively small size, are restricted to eating smaller fruits containing numerous small seeds. They favor seeds of the genus Piper, from the black pepper family but also eat other plants, fruit, pollen and insects. Their ability to switch food sources may be why they are so plentiful in the wild. Generally foraging close to the ground, they feed at a number of sites during a single night.

Senses: Short-tailed leaf-nosed bats have an excellent sense of smell. They use echolocation to navigate at night.

Communication: Bats make a variety of sounds, both audible and ultrasonic. The audible sounds are used to communicate between mothers and their young, between roost mates, to attract mates and as alarm cries.

Reproduction: Seba’s short-tailed bats have two reproductive periods. The larger one coincides with peak fruit productions, (June-Aug) and the other with the blooming of flowers at the end of the dry season (Feb-May). Gestation is 113-120 days and a single infant is usually produced. Newborns weigh approximately 0.176 ounce (5 gr). Sexual maturity may be as early as nine months to one year for females and one to two years for males.

Habitat/range: Found in moist evergreen and dry deciduous forests from northern Argentina to southern Mexico. Seba’s short-tailed bat is probably the most abundant mammal living in the New World tropics.

Status: IUCN – Least Concern (LC).