Monday, 25 November 2019

Bats in attics might be necessary for conservation

Buildings are vital summer roosting places for little brown bat maternity colonies in Yellowstone National Park

Date: November 19, 2019
Source: Ecological Society of America

For the little brown bat -- a small mouse-eared bat with glossy brown fur -- a warm, dry place to roost is essential to the species' survival. Reproductive females huddle their small furry bodies together to save thermal energy during maternity season (summer), forming "maternity colonies." In the face of severe population losses across North America, summer access to an attic or other permanent sheltered structure, as opposed to just trees or rock crevices, is a huge benefit to these bats.

In a new study published in the Ecological Society of America's journal Ecosphere, researchers with Ohio University, University of Kentucky, and the US National Park Service investigate and describe the conservation importance of buildings relative to natural, alternative roosts for little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) in Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone's iconic high-elevation landscape provides abundant natural roosting places but not many buildings. The study involved four visitor areas with several buildings that are known to host bold little brown bats, which are among the few bat species that will make their homes in structures that are actively used by people, allowing humans to get up close and personal. Sometimes, the investigation even involved researchers capturing them by hand.

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