Lesser long-nosed bat feeding at a hummingbird feeder

This lesser long-nosed bat is feeding from a backyard hummingbird feeder.

Desert Duets: Lesser Long-Nosed Bat Info Web Page

Information about Lesser Long-nosed Bats

Bats may be one of the most misunderstood animals on our planet. Bats are unique. They are the only mammal that can truly fly. Some people have called them "flying mice," but they are not rodents. The saying "blind as a bat" is totally false; bats are not blind. Bats are not dirty either; they groom themselves just like house cats do. (Bats can also purr like cats!)

There are almost 1,000 different species of bats. Scientists also divide bats into two main groups: "megabats," large tropical bats, and "microbats," smaller bats that live all around the world except near the North and South Poles. The places where bats live are called roosts. Most bat roosts are under bridges, in buildings, caves, mines, or hollow trees. Bats can hang upside down for hours or even months. Most bats hibernate in the winter; some for as long as six months. Different species of bats have different diets. They eat everything from insects to fruits and flower nectar to animal blood!

Lesser long-nosed bats are microbats. They're sometimes called the "Sanborn's long-nosed bat" or the "Mexican long-nosed bat." Their long noses are perfectly shaped to suck the nectar from cacti blossoms. Lesser long-nosed bats are nocturnal. They sip from the saguaro cactus flowers, which bloom at night.

These bats live in Mexico most of the year. Many lesser long-nosed bats migrate to southern Arizona in the spring when the saguaro and organ pipe cacti bloom. Some travel as far as 750 miles from their roosts in Mexico to reach their spring feeding place in Arizona. Those that come to the U.S. give birth here.

Lesser long-nosed bats are an endangered species. Many people are trying to protect them because they are important to the ecology of the Sonoran Desert. When lesser long-nosed bats drink the nectar from the cactus, they pick up pollen and carry it from one plant to another. This helps the plants reproduce.


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Launched: February 2008
Updated: 21 November 2014