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Glacier Park’s annual bat field trip is coming up next week

| July 10, 2024 7:25 AM


Hungry Horse News

Glacier National Park’s “Going Batty” field trip will be held on Thursday, July 18, 2024, in West Glacier from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but participation is limited and requires advance registration.

Glacier National Park’s biologist Lisa Bate and her staff, along with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, will lead participants on this late-evening field trip to a site with known bat activity. Wildlife staff will set up mist nets to capture and process bats and use acoustic detectors to detect the ultrasonic calls of bats flying overhead. These monitoring efforts are critical as bats face several threats, including a disease known as white-nose syndrome.

Participants will not be allowed to touch or handle bats and need to provide their own headlamps or flashlights, suitable clothing for the weather including sturdy footwear as well as a small backpack with food, water, extra clothing layers, and bear spray. Participants should also bring their own face masks for protection against transfer of disease from humans to bats.

This field trip is limited to 35 participants. For more information and to sign-up, visit https://volunteersignup.org/733L8.

Bats make up one-fourth of all mammalian species found on Earth. They range in size from the tiny bumblebee bat, weighing less than a penny, to the flying fox bat, which can have a wingspan of up to six feet.

In Glacier, biologists have now confirmed the presence of 10 bat species. The most recent addition, the Western Small-footed Bat, was confirmed during its 2022 Going Batty event. Three other species were added in recent years due to the park’s efforts to inventory and monitor bats.

More details about bats in Glacier National Park can be heard on Glacier’s “Headwaters” podcast in the episode “A Story of Grief and Hope.”