WNS Blog

When Rock Climbing and Science Meet

A bat at Devil’s Tower. Photo: Philip Knecht
How climbers are helping biologists track bat behavior—and why this matters   Climbers—particularly the masochistically-inclined crack climbing addicts who tend to congregate in areas like Vedauwoo or Devil’s Tower—could provide valuable data about the cliff and crack-dwelling bats in the West. Read more

The Hawaiian Hoary Bat: Five Amazing Facts

Hawaiian Hoary Bat
As we near end of October and leading up to the spookiest time of the year, join us in celebrating National Bat Week, October 24-31. Bats are enigmatic, cryptic and contribute in fascinating ways to the overall health of an ecosystem. While not the easiest to see, you can find bats in nearly every environment in the United States. Bats are an evolutionary wonder as this land mammal takes flight and leaves its land bound mammal cousins on the ground. With over 1,300 species, bats come in a variety of shapes and sizes. However, Hawaii has the distinction of being home to one of only...

Tagging bats to help save BC bat colonies

Tagging bats to help save BC bat colonies
See how biologists tag tiny bats as part of a new bat monitoring program at Deas Island Regional Park. One of the goals is to find out if White Nose Syndrome has affected colonies in BC. It's hoped that much can be learned from these important and vulnerable species to spare them from this deadly fungus.   Watch the video.  

Idaho Governor Butch Otter Proclaims National Bat Week

Rita Dixon, IDFG, holds the proclamation signed by Gov. Butch Otter
Don’t expect a spotlight in the sky over Gotham City, but do expect furry, flying critters to get their due respect Oct. 24-31 as it’s proclaimed National Bat Week in Idaho by proclamation of Gov. Butch Otter. “Bats provide important biological services that contribute substantially to the economy of the United States by protecting American forests and agriculture from destructive insects and by providing the fundamental benefit of pollination,” the proclamation reads.   Read the news release    

Hawai'i's only native land mammal? A bat!

Just hanging out, taking a break from eating yummy insects! Photo by: Jack Jeffrey
Lasiurus cinereus semotus Common Names: Hawaiian hoary bat, Ope‘ape‘a Listing Status: Endangered Where Listed: Wherever Found The Hawaiian hoary bat or as it is known locally, Ope‘ape‘a, is Hawai‘i’s only native land mammal. While ‘hoary’ refers to the frosted appearance of its fur, the name Ope‘ape‘a means ‘half-leaf’ in Hawaiian and refers to the bat’s wing shape in flight. Found on all the main Hawaiian Islands, it has evolved to be about 30-40% smaller than its mainland cousin, the North American hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus). You won’t find this insect eater in large colonies...

Stories from the Field

Back in 2014, I worked for the U.S. Forest Service (FS) with Nadja (Na-dee-uh) Schmidt, a seasonal wildlife lead for the Deschutes National Forest Sisters Ranger District.  Nadja invited me to come out and mist net bats with her recently and I was super excited because I'm a long time bat fan, but a first time mist netter. My role in the situation was limited by the fact that I don't have a rabies vaccination, so I helped with decontamination procedures and data collection. Bats are soooo cool and I owe a lot of my bat love to Nadja; she’s a great mentor! I find the shape of...

How Many Bats are in That House?

Bat houses at Kootenai National Wildlife
It is easy to miss the bat houses when you drive into the maintenance yard at Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge. Four small structures, mounted on the side of one of the buildings, don’t look like much. But in summer, those boxes are home to a LOT of bats. The refuge installed the houses in 2010 hoping to relocate a colony of bats that roosted in an old building – a building slated to be torn down. It worked, and the bats moved into their new digs. Refuge staff could tell the bats were living there by the growing pile of guano accumulating under the structures each summer and when staff...

Delaware Bat Spotters Program

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) invited Holly Niederriter, Wildlife Biologist for Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control, and Katelyn Rembecki, Research Assistant, to talk about Delaware bats on October 12, 2017.
For its last “Evening at the Hook” lecture for 2017, Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) invited Holly Niederriter, Wildlife Biologist for Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control, and Katelyn Rembecki, Research Assistant, to talk about Delaware bats on October 12, 2017. In addition to dispelling some myths about bats, Ms. Niederriter described the biology and status of bats and their ecological role in controlling insect pests. Population abundance of all bat species in Delaware has decreased significantly over the years, though the big brown bat (a cave species that...

I Found a Bat in my Home! What Do I Do?

Always wear gloves when handling a bat. Photo credit: Rita Dixon
They come out after sunset in the summertime, swooping through the backyard hunting for moths, flies, beetles, spiders, crickets, and other insects. That is all okay. But what if you find a bat trapped inside your home? Check out this blog post and video from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

U.S. Forest Service: Educating visitors to Ape Cave about WNS

Apes Headquarters, where lantern rentals and small purchases can be made, also has educational materials displayed.  Between Apes Headquarters and the adjacent toilets is the trail all visitors must use to access Ape Cave.
Ape Cave, a 2-mile long lava tube cave on Gifford Pinchot National Forest, draws approximately 120,000 visitors annually. The cave does not have a known hibernating bat population, but with white-nose syndrome having been discovered in Washington in 2016, educating and managing people to minimize the risk for potential introduction of Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd)- the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome- into this and other caves has become a priority for the U.S. Forest Service.  Although Ape Cave does not get much bat use, there are several lava tube caves in the area that...