The Eastern red bat is a medium-sized bat widespread across eastern North America. It has distinctive fur, with males being brick or rusty red, and females being a slightly more frosted shade of red. Both male and female eastern red bats have distinctive shoulder patches of white fur. The entire body of the Eastern red bat is densely furred, including its uropatagium. Its ears are short and rounded, with triangular tragi and its wings are long and pointed.
Eastern red bats are found in eastern North America and Bermuda. They generally occur east of the Continental Divide, including southern Canada and northeastern Mexico. In the spring and summer, they can be found in the Great Lakes region and the Great Plains region. In the winter, they migrate to the southeastern United States and northeastern Mexico, where they typically frequent coastal areas. Eastern red bats prefer to live in forested environments including deciduous, coniferous, and mixed forests, and can often be found in urban areas.
Eastern red bats are solitary creatures that come together only to mate and to migrate. During the day they usually hang on tree branches wrapped in their furry tail membranes resting or sleeping and at nightfall, they set off to hunt. These bats fly relatively quickly and are moderately maneuverable especially when catching insects "on the wing". During winter, red bats which don't migrate hibernate in tree hollows, tree trunks, or even on the ground in sheltered areas covered with leaf litter.
Eastern red bats start to breed in the autumn but females delay embryo implantation until spring. Pups are born in the summer, usually sometime between May and July. Unlike other bats species who usually produce one pup, Eastern red bats have on average 3 pups at a time, and some Eastern red bats have given birth to as many as 5 pups. The young are born blind and hairless. They learn to fly about a month after being born, after which they are weaned. Even after they have learned how to fly, the young usually remain with their mother for a while before roosting on their own.
Eastern red bats are considered endangered at present because they have a wide geographic range, large population size, they occur in protected areas, tolerate some habitat disturbance, and their population size is unlikely to be declining rapidly. However, like other migratory tree bats, Eastern red bats suffer from collisions with wind turbines.
According to IUCN, the Eastern red bat is widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.
Eastern red bats are important predators of insects in their ecosystem and thus keep populations of their prey species in check.