This bat is aptly named, for its ears are of comic-book proportions. They're usually curled when the animal rests, like miniature ram's horns. Lump-nosed bat is another common name, a reference to a conspicuous protuberance between the nostril and eye.
About 1,700 Ozark big-eareds remain. Approximately 1,400 inhabit a few caves in eastern Oklahoma. The rest live in two Arkansas caves -- a hibernation cave and a nearby maternity cave in the Ozarks. A Missouri population is now considered extinct.
Human disturbance and wanton killing at caves are the primary reasons for their endangered status. Predation at cave entrances by feral house cats, raccoons, screech owls, bobcats and snakes may also be a factor in their decline.
Intensive efforts to protect Ozark big-eared bats in Oklahoma led the Fish and Wildlife Service to establish the Oklahoma Bat Cave National Wildlife Refuge. The Arkansas hibernation cave is owned and protected by the Natural Heritage Commission, and the owner of the maternity cave has entered into an agreement to protect that site.
If you know the location of a cave that might be used by this species, please contact the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Nongame Mammal Program Coordinator, Blake Sasse at Blake.Sasse@agfc.ar.gov.