Facilitating the protection and restoration of species and ecosystems at risk on BC’s South Coast

Pelage (fur) is dull olive to rich, glossy brown on the back with darker indistinct spots on the back of the shoulder; underside paler. The long ears extend about 4 mm beyond the tip of the nose when pressed forward; the tragus (ear fold) is long, narrow, and pointed. Ears and wing membranes are dark brown. A fringe of tiny hairs on the outside edge of the tail membrane is visible with a hand lens. The skull has a steep forehead; the rostrum (snout) is short and rises abruptly giving it a shrew like face. Regarding the special concern status, this species is listed as Schedule 3 on the SARA Registry and is still awaiting reassessment based on new COSEWIC criteria.

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Global Status: 
Provincial Status: 
SARA Status: 
Special Concern
BC List Status: 
Blue (Considered to be of Special Concern)

Similar Species

*The taxonomic status of Keen's myotis is under review. Keen’s Myotis has also been referred to as Keen’s “Long-eared Bat”, creating some confusion with the similar and co-occurring Myotis evotis (Long-eared Myotis). Long-eared Myotis (length 9.2-10.3 cm), is often mistaken for M. keenii. Long-eared Myotis has somewhat longer ears that can extend by 5 mm or more beyond the tip of the nose when pressed forward. However body size should not be used to differentiate the two species;, measurement of cranial characteristics is the best way for a positive identification (i.e., the distance from the last upper premolar to the last upper molar is > 4.2 mm in Long-eared Myotis). Geographic location can also assist with identification (e.g. Long-eared Myotis does not occur on Haida Gwaii).



Elevations: 0-1100 m. Keen’s Myotis has a strong association with cave features (i.e. karst caves) with warm, moist microclimates. Known distribution is along the Coast Region mainland as far north as the Stikine River, on the Haida Gwaii Archipelago (where it is the only long-eared Myotis species and the only M. keenii maternal colony is located) and Vancouver Island (i.e. coastal and upland forested zones associated with karst caves). *For information on locations of karst cave systems in BC see the profile for the Quatsino Cave Amphipod.


Cool, wet, coastal montane forests and karst cave features are typical roosting associations. Bat activity appears seasonal, with emergence (“swarming”) from mid to high elevation caves occurring from July to September. Foraging covers a broad range of open areas from intertidal zones and estuaries areas to upland forest clearings, edge areas, wetlands and freshwater riparian zones. Myotis species show high site fidelity to maternity roost and hibernacula sites. Important habitat features include tree cavities, bark (on older wildlife trees) and rock crevices, and caves more than 100 m in length and above 400 m elevation, with stable 2.4-4°C temperatures and 100% humidity. Forage and roost buffer requirements are typically between 30 and 50 ha but will depend on site-specific factors including the type of feature (cave vs. tree), location of roosting trees, presence of wetlands or lakes, and potential movement corridors.


Small size, low wing-loading ratio, and very low intensity echolocation calls makes Keen’s Long-eared Myotis well adapted for flying and foraging on insects in mature and old growth forest stands. Insects, especially spiders and moths form a large part of the diet. Other prey items include flies, lacewings and dobsonfly. Food is captured in flight by scooping it up with wing or tail membranes or snatching it directly via the mouth mid-air or off of foliage.

Life Cycle

Females do not breed until second summer. Fertilization is delayed until females leave the hibernacula in the following spring for maternity colonies.


Knowledge gaps in occurrence, population, and abundance contribute to ongoing conservation and management challenges.
Dependency on tree cavity roosts associated with intact mature forest stands as well as forested karst cave sites used for breeding and hibernation makes this species vulnerable to habitat loss due to logging and other resource extraction practices.
Alteration of sensitive moisture and temperature micro-climate conditions within caves from intensive recreational caving, mineral exploration and resource extraction in and around cave systems
White-nosed syndrome, a fungal pathogen potentially spread by human activities though not yet detected in BC is decimating cave dwelling bat populations in eastern North America and is of significant concern.
Prey loss or pesticide build up in the food chain from application of pesticides used to control insect pests in silviculture/agricultural pest control practices, many of which may be part of the bat’s diet.
Wind farms are an unknown factor in respect to how they may affect non-migratory species such as Keen's Myotis

Conservation and Management

Apply conservation and management recommendations as set out in the Best Management Practices for Bats in British Columbia (2016, see link). Integrate complimentary objectives found in “Accounts and Measures for Managing Identified Wildlife – Accounts V. 2004. Keen’s Long-eared Myotis, Myotis Keenii,” the "COSEWIC assessment and update status report on Keen’s long-eared bat Myotis keenii in Canada” and provincial guidelines for the management of Karst systems. Assess, inventory and monitor using methodology setout in the RISC standards #20 Inventory Methods for Bats Version 2.0. This species is Identified Wildlife under the BC Forest and Range Practices Act and subject to protections and prohibitions under the BC Wildlife Act. Habitat for this species may also be governed under provincial and federal regulations including the Fish Protection Act and Federal Fisheries Act as well as Regional and local municipal bylaws.


For further information see:


B.C. Conservation Data Centre. 2010. [Internet] [Updated December 1 1998] Conservation Status Report: Myotis keenii B.C. MoE.

BC Ministry of Environment. 2006. [Internet] Wildlife Guidelines for Backcountry Tourism/Commercial Recreation in British Columbia

BC Ministry of Forests and Range [Internet] [Updated January 25 2006]. Forests Practices Branch, Karst and Caves.

Best Management Practices for Bats in British Columbia. British Columbia Ministry of Environment (2016)

Burles, D.W. et al. 2008. [Internet] Diet of two insectivorous bats, Myotis lucifugus and Myotis keenii, in relation to arthropod abundance in a temperate Pacific Northwest rainforest environment. Can. J. Zool. 86: 1367-1375 (2008).

Canadian Cave and Karst Information Service. 2010. [Internet] British Columbia Bat Resources

COSEWIC 2003. COSEWIC assessment and update status report on Keen’s long-eared bat Myotis keenii in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. vii + 35 pp.

Davis, Martin and Alisa Vanderberg. 1998. [Internet] Bat Usage of a Major Cave System on northern Vancouver Island. Island Karst Research.

Garcia, P. and S. Rasheed.  2004. [Internet] Accounts and Measures for Managing Identified Wildlife – Accounts V. 2004. Keen’s Long-eared Myotis Myotis Keenii

Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks Resources Inventory Branch. [Internet]. 1998. Inventory Methods for Bats v 2.0. Standards for Components of British Columbia's Biodiversity No. 20

Mitchell, Wilma A. 2002. [Internet] Cave-and Crevice-Dwelling Bats on USACE Projects: Townsend’s Big-eared Bat (*Corynorhinus townsendii)

Polster, D. et al. 2006. [Internet] Develop with Care: Environmental Guidelines for Urban and Rural Land Development in British Columbia. Prepared for the BC Ministry of Environment. Victoria (BC).

Proulx, Gilbert et al. 2003. A Field Guide to Species at Risk in the Coast Forest Region of British Columbia. Published by International Forest Products and BC Ministry of Environment. Victoria (BC). 


Prepared by: Pamela Zevit of Adamah Consultants for the South Coast Conservation Program (SCCP) in partnership with: International Forest Products (Interfor), Capacity Forestry (CapFor) and the BC Ministry of Environment (BC MoE). Review provided in 2011 by Susan Leech. Original funding for this project was made possible through the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI): http://www.sfiprogra m.org/. Updates were made possible through the Government of Canada's Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk

Every effort has been made to ensure content accuracy. Comments or corrections should be directed to the South Coast Conservation Program: info@sccp.ca. Content updated July 2017.