Resource Management

Inventorying Bats!

Netting and monitoring bats on the Wayne

Summer bat netting on the Ironton District yields amazing photographs and 27 bats.

"During the summer bat netting last week (17-20 July) on the Ironton district we took some awesome photographs," said Katrina Schultes, Athens Wildlife Biologist.  "We didn't catch any Indiana bats, but we did capture a Pipistrelle, Ohio's smallest bat carrying her baby --something I've never seen before, and I've seen A LOT of bats!" marveled Schultes.

Three people worked on the netting, going out four nights to two upland road rut pools, one upland pond, and one bottomland pond.  Ironton biologist, Kari Kirschbaum, seasonal GIS technician Darren Harris, and Schultes caught a total of 27 bats.


A mother pipistrelle carrying her baby horizontally against her abdomen is caught in the net. All photos are by Darren Harris.

Thirteen of the bats were northern bats and 12 were red bats, they also found one each pipistrelle and big brown bat. "The mother pipistrelle carrying her baby was the highlight of my week," said Schultes.  She explained bats change roosts frequently, although they do so less often when they have young.  Still, if the maternal roost tree was damaged or predators disturbed her, the mother would take her baby and move to another location. "Not usually very far," said Schultes, "especially not when the baby is as large as this mother bats was in comparison to her size."  Schultes said she was surprised that the bat carried her baby horizontally, but when they put the mother and baby in a bag and the two got briefly separated, the baby grabbed back on to its mother in the same position so apparently that is the normal way it was carried.

Harris, a graduate student who had previously worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, was a real asset to the team and took dozens of excellent photos of the bats and the process of identifying their gender and age.  "The photographs he took are superb," notes Schultes who did her graduate work with bats and admits to being abit obsessive about bats.  She laughs, "The experience of netting those bats was incredible " I could talk all day about it to anyone who would listen!" 

The next two photos below are of a big brown bat. Big browns are the 2nd largest bat species in Ohio and specialize in eating crunchy beetles, so they have an amazing set of teeth and a good bite! Although this bat looks a little scary, he's actually frightened, and showing us the only defense he has.

big brown bat

The next two bats below are red bats. This red bat was trying to ward off the person's hand with little success--this species is a bit smaller than the big brown and typically eats soft-bodied moths.

The photo here shows how we determine if a bat is adult or juvenile (young-of-the-year). We look at finger joints to see if cartilage is still present (the bat still has some growing to do) or if bone has grown all the way into the joint (adult). This photo illustrates a juvenile bat. The joint is straight up and down, and not knobby like an adult's, or our knuckle joints, for that matter.

This chart shows the results of the Wayne's bat monitoring for July 2006:

Species Sex Juvenile Lactating Post-Lact Non-Repro Site Type
13 northern bats 7 f, 6 m 3 1 4 5 upland site
12 red bats 6 f, 6 m. 6 3 2 1 ponds
1 pip + baby 1 f 1 1 0 0 road rut
1 big brown bat 1 f 1 0 0 0 bottomland pond

mother and baby bat in net!ut/p/z0/04_Sj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfIjo8ziDfxNDDwNwxydLA1cjbyDTUM9TQwgQL8g21ERAAMeE8s!/?position=Not%20Yet%20Determined.Html&pname=Wayne%20National%20Forest-%20Resource%20Management&ss=110914&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&pnavid=130000000000000&navid=130120000000000&ttype=detailfull&cid=fsm9_006051