The Galapagos red bat has a short, blunt head head and ears and thickly-furred tail membrane with bright rusty-orange fur on its lower back and its hindquarters are frosted with red. It is considerably smaller than the hoary bat, the other bat species found in Galapagos. It tends to fly relatively close to the ground with rather fast wing beats.
The Galapagos red bat is a subspecies of the southern red bat which is found throughout parts of North and South America. Similar to birds, southern red bats migrate to the southern parts of the world when it gets cold and head north when the weather starts to warm up in northern hemisphere, though it is thought that the Galapagos red bat is mostly sedentary. The bats are most likely found in the forest roosting under leaves. When roosting, the bats hang upside down from a tree branch from one foot, trying to blend in with their surroundings, such as dead leaves. Red bats eat a variety of insects including moths, flies, true bugs, beetles and cicadas. Like most bats, they are nocturnal, hunting during the night using echolocation.
Red bats mate during August and September. The female can have one to four pups at a time. The gestation period is about 90 days. Before the young bats are able to fly the mother carries them. It takes up to six weeks for the bats to fly by themselves and one to three years to mature.
Little is known about Galapagos red bats as they have been poorly studied.
Where to see them:
Research suggests that the Galapagos red bat is present only on Santa Cruz and San Cristobal, although previous records suggest it had been present on Floreana in the past.
When to see them: The best time to spot a Galapagos red bat is around street lights at night in the inhabited areas as well as the lowlands during the months of July to December, and the highlands in from January to June.
Threats: The Galapagos hawk and the Galapagos short eared owl are native predators, however it is unlikely that this has a detrimental effect on the population size of the Galapagos red bat.
Conservation action: The are currently no projects specifically focused on the conservation of the Galapagos red bat.