BATS rabies

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					An Introduction
   to Bats
Creepy, blind, blood-sucking
     RODENTS of the
      What do YOU know
       about bats????
• Bats are flying
• Bats will attack
  you for no reason
• Bats will fly into
  your hair
• Bats are blind
    Actually…..          y likes
 • Those are all just
• Bats won’t fly into
  your hair or attack
• They aren’t blind at
• And they aren’t even
 The Only Way
Rodents Can Fly
Common Questions
   about Bats
So, What ARE Bats???
• Class Mammalia

• Order Chiroptera (“hand-wing”)
  – Suborder Megachiroptera- flying
     • 1 Family, ~166 species

  – Suborder Microchiroptera- micro
    • 16 Families, ~759 species
Bat Stats
 • 4,200 species of mammals

    • ~1,000 species of bats

 • Of these, 88% are tropical
Bats: Unique Small Mammals
• Long lived (some up to 30 years)
       • Possibly due to reduced metabolic activity during
         torpor (40% of the year in some species).
• Low fecundity
       • Temperate zone bats are monestrous and usually
         have 1 young/yr
       • Exceptions are the red bat (twins and triplets are
         common) and the southeastern myotis (twins are
• Long period of infant dependency
       • 2 month gestation and 1 month of infant
• High survivorship
       • 50-80% chance of surviving each year once
         adulthood is reached (Findley 1993).
       • Common predators of bats are owls, snakes,
         hawks and feral cats
   What do Bats Eat?
• FRUIT- “frugivory”
• FLOWERS- nectar or pollen
• CARNIVORES- birds, reptiles,
• FISH- highly specialized
• BLOOD- “sangrivory”
• INSECTS- aerial or foliage
     How do Bats Fly?

• Bats are the
  only mammals
  capable of
  powered flight
       Bats Actually Fly With Their
         Hands, Not Their Arms!

Illustration from BCI Educator’s Activity Book
What is Echolocation?
• Microbats use ECHOLOCATION
  for navigation and prey capture:

       Animation from
             More About
• 1700’s: Lazarro Spallanzani first proposed
  bats could “see” with their ears
• 1930’s: Donald R. Griffin of Harvard coined
  term “echolocation”
• Not all bats echolocate- just Microchioptera
• Most echolocation calls are between 9 to
• Humans can only hear up to 20 kHz
• Bat detectors allow us to hear bat calls
• Can ID bat species by their echolocation calls
Why Are Bats
      • Bats are
        pollinators of
        many plant
        species including
        the agave plant
        (ie. Tequila), the
        saguaro cactus
        and many
        rainforest plant
      • Bats are vital for
        the control of
        insect populations
   Economic Importance
   of Bats in Agriculture
                             • The story of Mexican free-
                               tailed bats in Central Texas
                                – Bracken Cave: ~20
                                   million Mexican free-
                                   tailed bats (single largest
                                   aggregation of mammals
                                   in the world)
                                – Central Texas caves,
                                   including Bracken Cave,
                                   are summer maternity
                                   roosts for ~ 100 million
                                   Mexican free-tailed bats
Photo from
                                – It is estimated that these
                                   bats eat about 2 million
                                   lbs of insects every night
Tadarida brasiliensis
Mexican Free-tailed

   Photo From BCI:
              Bats Aloft:
   A Study of High Altitude Feeding
• Bat Biologists Knew:
  – Mexican Free-tailed bats fly as high as 10,000 ft.
  – Densest aggregations are at 600 – 3,200 ft.
• Entomologists Knew:
  – Corn earworms are one of the most destructive Ag.
    pests in US
  – Corn earworm moths fly at same altitudes during
     • Early June: emerge from Lower Rio Grande Valley of
     • 3 days after peak emergence in Mexico, moths begin
       laying eggs on agricultural crops in Central Texas
     • 3 weeks later, next generation spreads north through the
       Central US
        Could the free-tail bats be eating
The Problem
Helicoverpa zea
Corn Earworm
  “Bats Aloft” Partners
• Dr. Gary F. McCracken,
  University of Tennessee
• Dr. Wayne Wolfe and Dr. John
  Westbrook of USDA Research
  Station in College Station, TX
• U.S. Weather Service
• Bat Conservation International
     A Problem of Timing
• Researchers needed to know if the moths
  were flying in TX at the same time the bats
  were feeding
• Seemed improbable because the moths were
  still traveling to TX when the bats emerged
  in the evening
• Plus, other studies had shown that moths
  were only 30% of the bats diet - EXCEPT…..
• Bats forge 2x a night- early evening and
  early morning
• Further investigation showed that in early
  June, bats only ate 37% moths in the early
  evening but 96% moths during their dawn
Doppler Radar Images

 Images From: McCracken, G. F. 1996. BATS 14(3): 7-10 on
      Ok, Bats are Beneficial- but
         What About Bats and
• Bats ARE carriers of rabies
• Rabies caused by a bullet-shaped virus of the
  genus Lyssavirus. It causes a very serious viral
  infection of the Central Nervous System
• Rabies can only be transmitted through saliva or
  spinal fluid, not blood or urine
• If you are exposed, you will need post-exposure
  vaccinations ASAP (series of 5 itty-bitty shots in
  the arm)
• FYI- Raccoons pose the most serious risk of rabies
  in South GA. Surprisingly, otters are also a risk
      Rabies Prevention

  including bats!!!!!!

• Keep your pets vaccinated

• If you think you have been exposed,
  seek medical attention promptly
• Histoplasmosis is caused by a ground fungus
             Histoplasma capsulatum
• It causes flu-like symptoms which, in rare
  cases, can be quite serious
• Severity of disease is related to dosage of
  exposure (number of spores inhaled)
• It is most often associated with bird
  droppings, but bat and rodent droppings also
  pose a risk- esp. in hot, humid climates
• Keep your home and outbuildings free of
  fecal material
Bats in Georgia:
  16 Species
 The Evening Bats
             Rafinesque’s Big-eared
            Corynorhinus rafinesquii
                                 • Rare- possibly declining
                                   in numbers due to habitat
                                 • Roosts in abandoned
                                   buildings, hollow trees
                                   and caves in or near
                                   bottomland hardwood
                                 • Will glean insects from
                                   foliage or capture them
Photo From BCI:
                                   in flight
                 Southeastern Myotis
                Myotis austroriparius
                                 • Species of Concern by
                                 • Cave bat eastern US
                                 • Roosts in hollow trees,
                                   culverts, and bridges in
                                   areas w/o caves
                                 • Also associated with
                                   bottomland hardwood
                                 • Only Myotis bat to have
Photo From BCI:
                         Big Brown Bat
                      Eptesicus fuscus
                                 • One of the most
                                   common bats in urban
                                   areas and bat houses
                                 • Often roots in
                                   buildings- prefers
                                   snags in natural
                                 • Often return to
                                   maternity roost where
                                   they were born
Photo From BCI:
                                 • Forage in a variety of
                       Eastern Red Bat
                      Lasiurus borealis
                                 • Solitary, tree-roosting
                                 • Hangs by one foot
                                 • Will also hibernate in
                                   leaf litter on forest floor
                                 • Used to form large
                                   daytime migratory flocks
                                   in 1800’s
Photo From BCI:
                                 • 2-5 young (usually 3)
                         Hoary Bat
               Lasiurus cinereus
                                 • Solitary, roots among
                                   foliage on forest edges
                                 • Can fly 24 miles in one
                                   night while foraging
                                 • Territorial over foraging
                                 • Often migrate with bird
Photo From BCI:   • One of the most
                                   widespread bats in N.
                                 Evening Bat
                  Nycticeius humeralis

                                     • Abundant in SE US
                                     • Forest bat- hardly
                                       ever in caves
                                     • Little is known
                                       about its migration
Photo From BCI:
                      Eastern Pipistrelle
                  Pipistrellus subflavus
                                 • Common in forest
                                   edges and near
                                   agricultural areas
                                 • One of first bats to
                                   emerge in evening
                                 • Forage high in canopy
                                 • Will hibernate in
                                   caves and in culverts
Photo From BCI:
                  Northen Yellow Bat
                Lasiurus intermedius
                                 • Roosts year-round
                                   in Spanish moss
                                   and palm fronds
                                 • Abundant on the
                                 • Will forage over
                                   sand dunes and
Photo From BCI:
                                 • Typically have 3
Family Molossidae
 The Free-tailed Bats
      Mexican Free-tailed Bat
           Tadarida brasiliensis
                                 • Another very common
                                   urban and bat house
                                 • One of most widely
                                   distributed mammals
                                   in Western
                                 • Highly gregarious
                                 • Much of the
Photo From BCI:     population is
    Other Bats in Georgia
•   Silver-haired bat
•   Seminole bat
•   Gray myotis
•   Small-footed myotis
•   Little brown myotis
•   Eastern long-eared myotis
•   Indiana myotis-
Bat Conservation
Threats to Bat Populations
 • Habitat
 • Loss of historical roost sites
 • Disturbance of roost sites, esp.
 • Ignorance:
   – General public: negative attitudes
   – Scientific: Very little is known
     about the distribution, numbers and
     specific requirements of most bat
     Hot Topics in Bat
•   Phylogeny and evolution
•   Functional morphology
•   Echolocation
•   Conservation Biology
    – North American Bat Conservation
      Partnership (NABCP) Strategic
     Top 5 Conservation
   Research Goals (NABCP)
• Goal 1: Identify key resources- Flyways,
  roosts, drinking and foraging habitats
• Goal 2: Establish baseline populations and
• Goal 3: ID species requirements and limiting
• Goal 4: Describe, quantify, and monitor the
  effects of current land-management practices
  and other human disturbances on bats.
• Goal 5: Quantify the economic and social impacts
  of North American bats.
         Top 4 Management
          Goals (NABCP)
• Goal 1: Develop management standards and
  guidelines for bats, including them in existing
  management plans for other wildlife and
  associated habitat.
• Goal 2: Identify, protect, and enhance key
  roosting, feeding, and drinking resources for
  bats. Reestablish bat populations to the extent
• Goal 3: Incorporate bat conservation language
  into existing statutes for wildlife protection.
• Goal 4: Integrate strategic plans for bats into
  other existing plans and initiatives.
 Common Methods For
Studying Bat Populations
 • Population Surveys: Counts
   –   Direct Roost Counts
   –   Nightly Dispersal Counts
   –   Maternity Roost Counts
   –   Ultrasonic Bat Detectors
        • Simple handheld
        • ANABAT (records for computer
 • Population Surveys: Captures
   – Mist Nets
   – Harp Traps
   – Trip Lines (over water sources)
Bat Management
    Basic Habitat
Requirements for Bats
  – Including maternity, bachelor and
    hibernation roosts
  – Caves, hollow trees, stumps, live trees,
    abandoned buildings, bridges, culverts,
  – Waterways, roads, pipelines, forests,
    edges, clearings, beaches, etc.
  – Lakes, rivers, streams, bays, stock
    tanks, swimming pools, etc.
   General Practices that
       Benefit Bats
• Protection of known or potential
  roosts, including: snags, hollow
  trees, abandoned buildings, caves,
  bridges, etc.
• Creating artificial roosts
• Maintaining water quality (BMP’s)
• Wise use of insecticides
• Keep cats indoors!
• Leave known bat populations
                 Bat House Design
                                 Bat houses should have
                                 the following specs:
                                 – AT LEAST 2 ft. tall and 14
                                   in. wide- bigger is better!
                                 – Have a 3-6 inch landing
                                   strip covered with plastic
                                   hardware cloth below
                                 – Inner partitions (1-4+)
                                   should be ½ to 1 in. apart
                                   and covered with plastic
                                   hardware cloth or
                                   roughened manually
                                 – Ventilation slot 6 in. from
Photo From BCI:     bottom of house
Bat House Construction
 and Wood Treatment
• Use plywood, cedar or a
• Exterior of house: Apply 3 coats
  of dark or medium colored
  exterior grade, water-based
  paint or stain
• Interior of house: Apply two
  coats black, exterior grade,
  water-based stain
                 Bat House Placement
                            • Full all day sun is
                               best- minimum is
                               6 hours of sun
                               exposure a day
                            • Place near water
                               if possible
                            • Mount house on a
                               pole 15-20 ft.
                            • Make sure
                               entrance is
Photo From BCI: unobstructed         Photo From BCI: www.batcon.or
Bats That Will Use Bat
  Houses In Georgia
    •   Little brown myotis
    •   Southeastern myotis
    •   Eastern pipistrelle
    •   Big brown bat
    •   Evening bat
    •   Mexican free-tailed bat
    Recommended Steps for
       Bat Management
• Conduct bat surveys
• Identify roosts- esp. maternity roosts
• Provide artificial roosts (bat boxes)
• Incorporate bat management practices into
  your overall management plan
• Work with neighboring landowners to
  provide as much habitat as possible
• Discourage human disturbance of bat
• Monitor bat populations and make the data
  available to researchers
 For More Information
• Bat Conservation International
• Buzbee’s Bat House
• Bat CREW