SUMMIT COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - The state's rarest bat was captured by biologists in the Metro Parks, serving Summit County.
The bat - an eastern small-footed bat - was captured last week during a routine bat survey. The bat was banded and released after being caught in a mist net placed over the Bike & Hike Trail in Boston Township.
"It's an exciting find," said Mike Johnson, the park district's chief of natural resources, who said little is known about the bat, a state species of concern. "It speaks to the importance of our ongoing research and protecting our natural resources."
September is peak breeding season for bats, and hibernation will soon begin for six of the now nine species recorded in the Metro Parks, including big brown, little brown, northern long-eared, Indiana, eastern pipistrelle and the new eastern smallfooted bat.
Three species - hoary, red and silver-haired - migrate south for winter.
Most of the hibernating varieties will take refuge in caves and ledges, like those in Liberty Park in Twinsburg, not far from where the eastern small-footed bat was discovered, and the Boston Ledges in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
When active, all Ohio bats eat insects. Many can consume more than 1,000 mosquitoes per hour.