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The relatively long black ears of the long-eared myotis are distinctive and dramatic in contrast with its paler body fur. These bats are endemic to the west, ranging from southwestern Canada, south through California into Baja, eastward through northern Arizona and New Mexico and north into the Dakotas. They are found predominantly in coniferous forests, typically only at higher elevations in southern areas (between 7,000 and 8,500 feet). From British Columbia to northern Arizona, they roost in tree cavities and beneath exfoliating bark in both living trees and dead snags. Pregnant long-eared myotis often roost at ground level in rock crevices, fallen logs, and even in the crevices of sawed-off stumps, but they cannot rear young in such vulnerable locations.
Only one other western forest bat has been found regularly roosting at ground level, the western small-footed myotis (Myotis ciliolabrum). Long-eared myotis capture prey in flight, but also glean stationary insects from foliage or the ground. Their main diet appears to consist of moths, and their relatively quiet echolocation calls are well suited for sneaking up on prey undetected as well as for maneuvering through cluttered habitats.