Prevent bats becoming ill

White nose syndrome brochure

From White-nose

What can you do to help?

Avoid possible spread of WNS by humans

    • Stay out of caves and mines where bats are known – or suspected – to hibernate in all states.
      Honor cave closures and gated caves.

Avoid disturbing bats

  • Stay out of all hibernation sites when bats are hibernating (winter).

Be observant

  • Report unusual bat behavior to your state natural resource agency, including bats flying during the day when they should be hibernating (December through March) and bats roosting in sunlight on the outside of structures. More difficult to tell is unusual behavior when bats are not hibernating (April through September); however, bats roosting in the sunlight or flying in the middle of the day is unusual. Bats unable to fly or struggling to get off the ground is also unusual.

Take care of bats

  • Reduce disturbance to natural bat habitats around your home (e.g., reduce outdoor lighting, minimize tree clearing, protect streams and wetlands).
  • Construct homes for bats (see below for directions).
  • If bats are in your home and you don’t want them there, work with your local natural resource agency to exclude or remove them without hurting them after the end of the maternity season (see below for more information). The best time to exclude bats is when they aren’t in your home.

Learn about bats/teach about bats – bats are fascinating creatures and an important part of our environment.

  • Visit websites for organizations like Bat Conservation International
  • Attend educational programs or events celebrating bats, e.g.,
    • Indiana Bat Festival
    • Bat Fest, Austin, Texas


  • Some states and organizations sponsor bat emergence counts or other activities. Contact your state natural resource agency or local conservation groups for opportunities.

Provide homes for bats

Exclude or remove bats safely

Other opportunities

Bats in churches in Dutch Friesland

This 2007 video shows Daubenton’s bats at the famous Kapellbrücke in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Translated from the Dutch Mammal Society:

Monday, November 9th, 2015

During large-scale church attic research in Friesland last summer many new Daubenton’s bats homes were discovered. It was also examined what could be the possible reason why this species stays in church attics.

More than 200 churches were examined for the presence of bats. The study was conducted by two students from Van Hall Larenstein College in Leeuwarden, commissioned by the Office of the Mammal Society. The churches prove to be very important places for bats. In total, 36% of these churches house bats and bats’ traces were found found in 84%.

The most commonly found species were common long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus), serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus) and Daubenton’s bat (Myotis daubentonii). Also found was the rare Natterer’s bat (Myotis nattereri), this was only the third time that this species in the Netherlands was found in a church attic. The research has provided valuable data on the distribution of bats.

The high number of churches in which colonies of Daubenton’s bats were found was most remarkable. This is a species that is best known as a tree dweller and of which in the Netherlands hardly colonies in buildings were known. Of this species was also discovered the largest known colony of the Netherlands: as many as 242 animals were counted in a church.

Two new bat species discovered on St Eustatius island

This video says about itself:

24 September 2015

The “Hispaniolan greater funnel-eared bat” is a species of funnel-eared bat found on the island of Hispaniola. First described in 1902, it has a complex taxonomic history, with some authors identifying multiple subspecies, now recognised as the separate species “Natalus primus” and “Natalus jamaicensis”, and others considering “Natalus major” to be itself a subspecies of “Natalus stramineus“. It lives primarily in caves and feeds on insects.

The Hispaniolan greater funnel-eared bat was first described scientifically in 1902 by Gerrit Miller as “Natulus major”. The holotype was the skin and skull of a male preserved in alcohol, which was collected “near Savanata”, presumed to mean Sabaneta. The Cuban greater funnel-eared bat, described in 1919, has been considered a subspecies of “N. major”: “N. major primus”, but is now recognised as a different species by the IUCN. Similarly, “N. major jamaicensis”, described in 1959, is now recognised as a distinct species: “Natalus jamaicensis”. Previous reports of “Natalus” on the island had also been referred considered “Natulus major”.

The genus “Natalus” was traditionally placed into three subgenera: “Natalus”, “Chilonatalus” and “Nyctielleus”. Within this taxonomy, the “N. major” was placed in the subgenus “Natalus”, along with the genus’s type species the “N. stramineus” and “N. tumidirostris”. However, morphological analyses in the 2000s supported promoting the subgenera to generic status. The genus is characterised by the large, bell-shaped and face-covering natalid organ, by features of the ears and by osteological differences between it and its relatives. “N. major” can be distinguished from other members of its genus by its larger size and differing distribution. However, some authors have argued that the “N. major” should be considered conspecific with the “N. stramineus”, and conservative estimations that some or all Natalidae species were in fact forms of “N. stramineus” were common. Recent studies which have included “N. major” within “N. stramineus” include those by Hugh Genoways and colleagues, supported by a later paper which claimed that there were no “structural” differences between the populations. A 2005 study conducted by Adrian Tejedor and colleagues concluded the three populations of “Natalus” were distinct to a degree that they should be considered separate species, and so the author offered new descriptions of the three.

Translated from the Dutch Mammal society:

Two new bat species discovered on St Eustatius

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

Sleep in a hammock in the crater of a dormant volcano, seven liters of water per person on your back, a box of research materials, nets and poles, getting them up the volcano at 35 degrees Celsius: it has not been in vain. On the edge of the crater of the volcano The Quill on St Eustatius the Lesser Antillean long-tongued bat was captured, a species so far unknown for the island. And as the icing on the cake the next morning the Mexican funnel-eared bat, also new to the island, flew around the hammock. Sil Westra, Wesley Overman and Ellen Norren report about their bat research as part of the expedition led by Naturalis museum.

Help Mexican freetail bats

This video from the USA says about itself:

25 October 2015

Bracken cave is the home of 15 million Mexican freetail bats, the largest bat colony in the world. You can help protect the cave by adopting a Mexican freetail bat through BCI’s Adopt-a-bat program! Visit

Leisler’s bats in English bat box

This video from Derbyshire in England says about itself:

Leisler’s bats emerge from bat box

16 May 2015

In 2008 we erected a bat box carved from a piece of log at one of our schemes. A maternity colony of Leisler’s bats has moved in and in May 2015 we set up a camera and screen so that members could watch them emerge. We recorded the video & uploaded it so you can watch too!

Morphogenesis of the fetal membranes and placentation in the Indian molossid bat, Chaerephon plicata: here.

Mediterranean horseshoe bat conservation, new study

This is a Mediterranean horseshoe bat video from Spain.

From Science Explained:

Reading bat droppings

Posted on October 16, 2015 by Chris Jacobs

The Mediterranean Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus euryale) is a bat species that, which the name implies, occurs in the Mediterranean region and Balkan peninsula. Unfortunately, the populations of these bats are declining. Conservation efforts have so far focused on protecting the area where the bats occur/hunt. However, Aitor and his colleges say that that will not be enough. They’ve analyzed bat droppings and conclude that it is important to also include the surrounding “non-hunting” sites if we want to protect these bats.

The Mediterranean Horseshoe Bat eats moths

These bats eat moths, and lots of them. Their diet consists for about 85% of moths. Well? So what, you might say. The reason that this is important is because moths are holometabolic insects, they have an egg, a larval stage (the caterpillar), a pupal stage and an adult stage. Bats only eat the adults. The important thing here is, as the authors discuss, that caterpillars may live in entirely different habitats than the adults do. Which means that if the area where these caterpillars live is not protected, the bats might run out of food. Take a look at the picture below. The green area is where the bats live and hunt and is designated a protected area. Some moths live their entire life there (the green ones). However, other moths grow as caterpillars outside this protected area (in the red area) and fly as adults into the protected area (the red moths). Both moths serve as a nice batsnack. But do they equally contribute to the bat’s food supply? And is their contribution equal throughout the year?

Extracting DNA from bat droppings to see what they eat.

Something I did not know was that you can actually buy specialized kits to extract DNA from poop. The authors used this kit to extract DNA from the droppings and then used this to identify which moths were eaten by the bats. This shows which moths are eaten by a certain percentage of bats, as in: “60% of the bats eat moth species 1”. They did this 3 times during the year, in May (before the bats breed), in July (during the breeding season) and in September (after the breeding season). They found that which moths are eaten by most bats varies throughout the season. In the figure below you see the 3 moth species that were eaten by most bats for each of the 3 times measured.

As you can see, 9 different species. Which means that different moths are important for bat survival in different seasons. But that still doesn’t tell us whether the caterpillars of these moths live in or outside of the protected bat area. So they looked where the caterpillars of all these different moths live and looked whether the caterpillars lived inside the protected area or outside. They found that in May and July about 70-85% of the bats preyed both on moths that live their entire life in the protected area and on moths that come from unprotected areas. However, in September, only 42% of the bats still preyed on moths from within the protected area but 100% of the bats preyed on moths that came from unprotected areas! The importance of this finding is that bats rely on moths that originate from both within the protected area and outside the protected area, and that their dependence on moths from outside the protected area increases later in the year (September).

So if we want to protect the Mediterranean Horseshoe Bat, we need widen our perspective and include the areas where their food comes from. This is likely true for many more species that are the target of conservation efforts and we would be wise to take this into account in future conservation efforts.


Aitor Arrizabalaga-Escudero, Inazio Garin, Juan Luis García-Mudarra, Antton Alberdi, Joxerra Aihartza, Urtzi Goiti. (2015) Trophic requirements beyond foraging habitats: The importance of prey source habitats in bat conservation, Biological Conservation, Volume 191, Pages 512-519, ISSN 0006-3207.