Alaska Bat Monitoring Project

Bat photo gallery | Myths about bats

We Need You….

Silver-haired bat © Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International

Maybe you are a member of the Alaska Bat Club without even knowing it!  If you have seen bats in Alaska, report your sighting on our observation form and you are in the club!

Bat Basics In Alaska

Many Alaskans are unaware that bats live in their state.  Alaska is home to five species of bat, with the Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) being the most common by far.  This species is found throughout Southeast, Southcentral and Interior Alaska.  All other bat species are almost exclusively found in Southeast Alaska.  The Big Brown Bat has only been recorded once in Alaska in 1955, so is not counted among the five species.

To learn more about bat species in Alaska, click on their names below:

Distribution Maps

Why Are We Batty For Bats?

Here are just a few amazing facts about bats:

  • They are mammals with the unique ability to fly
  • They are nocturnal hunters that use well-developed echolocation sonar systems to bounce sound waves off of obstacles or prey
  • The sound waves they emit are too high in frequency for human ears to detect
  • They fill an important ecological niche by consuming large quantities of insects and pests, with one bat eating as many as 5,000 mosquitoes in one night!
  • There are over 1,000 species of bat in the world, making up close to one quarter of all mammal species

Bats In Trouble

Bats throughout the world are on the decline due to human-related factors.  They have a slow reproduction rate, so they are vulnerable to rapid declines.  The following factors are contributing to declines globally:

  • Lack of research and knowledge of bats, meaning scientists are less able to protect their critical needs
  • Habitat destruction due to increased development, deforestation and closures of abandoned mines
  • Prey base is altered by use of pesticides in some areas
  • Directly killed by humans, sometimes out of fear
  • Hibernation and maternal roost disturbances which lead to abandonment of the roost site, a loss of valuable energy needed to hibernate and the deaths of young bats who are flightless and dropped by their mothers during disturbances

A Lack Of Information In Alaska

Little Brown Bat © Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International

There is little known about basic bat ecology in Alaska.  The Little Brown Bat is known to feed and roost throughout Southcentral and Interior Alaska, however only a tiny number of maternity colonies have ever been documented in this vast region.  Their distribution and abundance during the summer months is poorly understood, and even less is known about where they go in the winter.  Although it is believed that Little Brown Bats from Interior and Southcentral Alaska fly south to hibernate where the winters are a little less severe, neither these migrations nor the actual locations of hibernacula important to migrating bats have been documented. We simply don’t know where our Little Brown Bats go. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the entire genera Myotis as a conservation concern in 2003.  It is important that we continue to learn more about bats and bat ecology in Alaska so we can conserve resources critical to their survival and prevent population declines.
Go To Bat For Us…How Can You Get Involved?

We need YOU to become a Citizen Scientist!  You can help us gather basic information on the distribution and habitat of these amazing flighted mammals.  You will be armed with general bat information and will become our eyes and ears in the field.

There are two ways for you to be involved:

  • Report bat sightings:  We ask the public to report any observations of bats in Alaska, regardless of location or number.  We have compiled an Observation Reporting Form which will assist us in collecting the necessary information from observers.  If you see a bat, fill out the form and send it back to us!
  • Request a program for your neighborhood, community organization or family:  If you know a group of people that would like to have an outreach program on our Bat Citizen Science project or bats in general, we can set one up for you!  A trained program staff member will come to you and show you the basics of becoming a Citizen Scientist.
  • Instructions for submitting observation forms: You can send your completed forms to us through the following ways: 1) email- just fill out the electronic form, save it to your desktop, and then send as an attachment; 2) postal mail- we can send a stamped envelope to you upon request; or 3) fax. See below for contact addresses, phone and fax numbers.

Submit completed Observation Reporting Forms or requests for programs to:

Marian Snively – Project Coordinator
Alaska Department of Fish & Game
333 Raspberry Road
Anchorage, AK 99518
Phone: (907) 267-2893
Fax: (907) 267-2433
marian.snively@alaska.gov

OR

David Tessler
Alaska Department of Fish & Game
333 Raspberry Road
Anchorage, AK 99518
Phone: (907) 267-2332
Fax: (907) 267-2433
david.tessler@alaska.gov

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