Do bats adapt to gates at abandoned mines?

June 20, 2018, Wiley
bat
Big eared townsend bat (Corynorhinus townsendii) Credit: Public Domain

Abandoned mines can serve as roost sites for bats, but because the mines pose serious risks to humans, officials often install gates at their entrances. With more than 80,000 abandoned mines in the southwestern United States, these subterranean habitats are important to bat survival as human disturbances from recreation and other activities at natural caves are affecting their use by bats.

A new Journal of Wildlife Management study found that most installed today do not impede usage of the site, with bats acclimating over time after gates are placed. The new findings are important because prior to the study, biologists knew little about the effect of gates on bat behavior.

Certain factors were more important than gate design in predicting the presence of some bat species, including elevation, portal area, number of mine levels and entrances. Although the researchers saw no difference in ' responses to gate height or material, less maneuverable bat species initially collided and landed more frequently on gates than did agile .

The findings will inform management on closure methods at caves and abandoned in the United States and beyond.

"Bats are often viewed negatively, but they are critical to our ecosystems," said lead author Dr. Carol Chambers, of Northern Arizona University. "Bats face many difficulties today, from white-nose syndrome to habitat loss. Our findings help protect these animals and keep humans safe."

Explore further: Feds won't designate critical habitat for threatened bat

More information: Journal of Wildlife Management (2018). DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.21498

Related Stories

Fungus that's killing millions of bats 'isn't going away'

November 5, 2013

University of Illinois researchers say that an infectious and lethal cold-loving fungus that has killed an estimated 6 million bats in North America can persist indefinitely in caves whether there are bats in them or not.

Recommended for you

Microbial dark matter dominates Earth's environments

September 26, 2018

Uncultured microbes—those whose characteristics have never been described because they have not yet been grown in a lab culture—could be dominating nearly all the environments on Earth except for the human body, according ...

Team names world's largest ever bird—Vorombe titan

September 25, 2018

After decades of conflicting evidence and numerous publications, scientists at international conservation charity ZSL's (Zoological Society of London) Institute of Zoology, have finally put the 'world's largest bird' debate ...

The grim, final days of a mother octopus

September 25, 2018

Octopuses are the undisputed darlings of the science internet, and for good reason. They're incredibly intelligent problem-solvers and devious escape artists with large, complex nervous systems. They have near-magical abilities ...

Climate change not main driver of amphibian decline

September 25, 2018

While a warming climate in recent decades may be a factor in the waning of some local populations of frogs, toads, newts and salamanders, it cannot explain the overall steep decline of amphibians, according to researchers.

Team discovers new species of dazzling, neon-colored fish

September 25, 2018

On a recent expedition to the remote Brazilian archipelago of St. Paul's Rocks, a new species of reef fish—striped a vivid pink and yellow—enchanted its diving discoverers from the California Academy of Sciences. First ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.