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Bats
Bats

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Overview

Bats remain one of the most mysterious land mammals, especially in Colorado, where 18 species spend at least part of the year. For example, the little brown bats in our state seem to hibernate differently than those on the east coast, and we are constantly learning about their whereabouts, habitats and behaviors. Our current research suggests that bat populations in Colorado are doing quite well. 

Pallid bat photo by Dan Neubaum.Why Are Bats Important?

One little brown bat can eat up to 18,000 small insects (like mosquitoes) each night. Their economic impact is estimated to be billions of dollars, and much of the agricultural industry relies on their insect control. 

Beyond their economic impact, bats flaunt some impressive adaptations. They are the only mammal that truly flies, which requires a very unique anatomy. Their upside-down lifestyle requires adaptations in their “feet” to consistently grip. If people hanged upside down for even an hour, we’d lose consciousness; bats have developed amazing blood pressure accommodations to fit the lifestyle.  

What Are The Associated Challenges?​​

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​​​Climate Change and Severe Weather​​​​​Invasive, Problematic, Native Species, PathogensExpanding Science​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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What Is CPW Doing?

​We are currently involved in a monitoring partnership called the North American Bat Monitoring Progam (NA Bat). The program utilizes acoustic surveys to collect information on bat populations without interfering with their behaviors. We also are using PIT tags, like the chips put in household pets, to monitor a number of maternity sites.  While data collection will take years, we’ve already learned new information about Colorado’s bat ​ Little brown bat with White-nose syndrome. Photo courtesy of USFWS. ​population, the most heartening of which is that the population appears larger and more widespread than we’d thought. This is an excellent start to learning more about the species, but we’ve got lots of problem-solving and technological innovation left to do.

Our priorities also include learning more about bats so that we are prepared for the potential spread of White-nose Syndrome. Finding and monitoring bats is crucial to this effort, but also comes with its own challenges. Because bats are small, flying mammals, much of the equipment used to track other species is too heavy for them. And during the winter, Colorado bats are very elusive, choosing to hibernate in small groups often in locations that are inaccessible to people.

Conservation

​​​​​​How Can You Help?

To help us keep tabs on White-nose Syndrome and its spread, please tell us if you find a dead bat in the wintertime.

Let us know if you see multiple bats using a single site.

Cats kill bats! Please keep your feline friends indoors. 

Give bats a place to live away from humans. Installing bat boxes somewhere warm and sun-exposed is a big help to bats in the summer. 

Please keep in mind that bats do carry rabies. If there is any possibility that you or your pet has come in contact with one, please seek medical help right away. 

Find more ideas of how you can make a difference. Every action, no matter how small, can make a positive impact. See Your Help​.

​Take a Closer Look​