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Bats in Colorado
Bats in Colorado
A cluster of brown bats on a cave

 Studying Bats on Colorado's Western Slope​​​


Colorado Bats

There are 18 species of bats known to live in Colorado; some are here year-round, and some only migrate through the state. Though commonly misunderstood, bats actually play a valuable role in ecosystems across Colorado.

Bats can be found in every habitat in the state, from the eastern plains to the high mountain forests and western deserts, from rural towns to downtown Denver. Not only do they pollinate plants and crops, but all of our bats also eat insects and help control our insect populations. The Little brown bat has been known to catch and eat more than 150 mosquitoes and crop pests in less than 15 minutes! 

CPW continually monitors bat populations as part of a nationwide effort to detect changes from threats including White-nose syndrome and wind energy development. Learn more about these fascinating mammals and how you can help with bat conservation.

Report Bat Sightings to Colorado Parks and Wildlife

CPW is asking the public to report the sightings of any active or dead bats between the months of December through May. A special phone line (303) 291-7771 and an email address​ are available to report these sightings. For any bats encountered during June through November OR any time you have had contact with a bat without protective equipment like leather gloves, please contact your local county health department. CPW would also like to know of any winter roost sites that have hibernating bats so biologists can include them in the monitoring effort.

The public is asked to not disturb hibernating bats and to respect cave closures. 

All the bat species found in Colorado are insect eaters, in some cases eating thousands of insects a night. This diet of night flying insects makes bats important for the control of agricultural and human pests. Bats are also important to the cave environments they roost in, bringing energy into these mostly closed systems in the form of their guano.

White Nose Syndrome

“Bats are an important yet under-appreciated part of our world," said former CPW Species Conservation Coordinator, Tina Jackson. “This threat is something we all should be worried about."

WNS, which is caused by a fungus known as Pseudogymnoascus destructans, is responsible for large scale bat die-offs across Eastern and Central North America, in some cases killing 100% of the bats in a site. WNS is named for the white powder appearance seen on the nose, ears, and wings of infected bats.

Bats that have died from WNS have been confirmed in two counties in Colorado, and the fungus that causes the disease has been found in an additional four counties. Since first documented in a New York cave in 2007, WNS has spread to 40 states and 8 Canadian provinces. Some signs of WNS in bat populations are:

  • Bats leaving hibernation sites in the winter during daylight hours
  • Bats with a white powder on their nose, ears or wings
  • Grounded bats with desiccated wing tissue, often with severe lesions​
  • Dead bats occurring during late winter and spring
Read more about white-nose syndrome in bats:

​​​​​​Ways to Participate in National Bat Week

Each year, National Bat Week is celebrated in the last week of October. Here are some ideas on how you can participate:

Go to Bat for Bats! – Bat Week encourages actions big and small that can help improve the environment for bats. Take action and participate in activities that assist in bat conservation

Learn how important bat boxes are by watching the Bat Boxes 101 video.

Join Bats Conservation International's Facebook page and become part of the bat community.

Participate in a distance learning adventure: BatsLIVE – An online, one-stop resource for learning about bats and gaining skills to help others become bat champions. You will find lesson plans, exciting recorded webcasts and webinars, links to great bat partners, and multimedia tools that are all focused on bats!

Watch the “Battle for Bats" Film. This cornerstone of the White-nose Syndrome (WNS) communication effort focuses on bats as important and fascinating animals, the reality that we are rapidly losing millions of our bats to WNS, information on how state and federal agencies and non-profits are working together to fight this devastating disease, and the important role that the public can play in bat conservation.

For more information on planning your own event or learning other ways you can make a difference, visit our friends at www.bat​​