Northern Yellow Bat

Scientific Name
Lasiurus intermedius
Also Known As
Northern Yellow Bat
All of Florida
True Bugs, Flies, Mosquitoes, Beetles
Life Expectancy
5 - 10 Years
the Northern Yellow Bat

Photo 6402329 © Alvaro Monter Pozos, CC BY-NC

Northern Yellow Bat conservation status - Least Concern

Quick Links

The Northern Yellow Bat in Central Florida

The northern yellow bat (Lasiurus intermedius) is a small, migratory bat species found across the southeastern United States, including central Florida. This comprehensive guide provides detailed identification tips, biology facts, and information on ideal habitat conditions and prevention of conflicts with the northern yellow bat in central Florida.

Appearance and Identification

The northern yellow bat can be identified by the following unique physical characteristics in both juvenile and adult stages

Male Adult Northern Yellow Bat

Photo 5784312 © Juan Carlos Pérez Magaña, CC BY-NC

Adult Northern Yellow Bats

  • Size: Adults reach a body length of 3.5-4.5 inches (9-11 cm) and wingspan of 11 inches (28 cm). They weigh 0.3-0.5 ounces (8-14 grams).

  • Fur: Adults have bright yellow fur on the undersides and upper back. The shoulders and top of the head are frosted gray.
  • Wings: Broad wings well-adapted for long distance migration.
  • Other Features: Pointed tragus in the ear. Small, flattened head. Small eyes.
Female Juvenile Northern Yellow Bat

Juvenile Northern Yellow Bats

  • Size: Newborns are about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) long and weigh approximately 0.2 ounces (5 grams). They reach adult size by 6-8 weeks old.
  • Fur: Juvenile fur is grayish on the back and lighter on the underside. The fur is short and very soft.
  • Features: Younger bats have disproportionately large feet and ears compared to head and body size. Wings are underdeveloped at first.

Maturation Rate

Northern yellow bat pups grow rapidly after birth. They reach full adult size by 20-30 days old. Sexual maturity is reached by 6-12 months old in females and 1.5 years old in males. The young bats are independent and capable of migration by late summer.

Habits and Behavior

The northern yellow bat is migratory, traveling south to Florida in winter from more northern roosts. They arrive in Florida around September and stay until April or May. While in central Florida, they roost solitarily in Spanish moss, palm fronds, and leaves. They use different day roosts on a regular basis.

Northern yellow bats emerge at dusk to forage around trees and bushes for insects. They have a rapid, erratic flight pattern as they pursue prey, aided by echolocation. This species eats a variety of flying insects like moths, beetles, mosquitoes, and termites.

Reproduction and Lifespan

Mating occurs in autumn before migration south. Females store sperm during hibernation until spring, when ovulation and fertilization occurs. The single pup is born in May or June, either in the southern roosts or after returning north. Pups are weaned by 25-30 days old.

Lifespans in the wild are estimated between 5-10 years. The northern yellow bat has a relatively slow reproductive rate for bats, with females producing just one pup annually. Their migratory habits reduce exposure to predators compared to non-migratory bats.