The Montana Audobon Center in Billings held their bat night hike on Friday, where others could learn about bats in Montana and see some for themselves through a guided hike. 

The event started with a presentation about bats from Montana FWP intern Becca Stapleton. She explains there are 15 species of bats native to the Treasure State but don’t worry, none of them drink blood or desire to seek out humans. Here is a list of the 15 bats that live in Montana:

  • Pallid Bat
  • Townsend’s big-eared bat 
  • Big Brown Bat 
  • Spotted Bat 
  • Silver-haired bat 
  • Eastern Red Bat 
  • Hoary Bat
  • California Myotis 
  • Western Small Foor Myotis
  • Long-eared Myotis 
  • Little Brown Myotis 
  • Northern Myotis 
  • Fringed Myotis 
  • Long-legged Myotis 
  • Yuma Myotis 

Bats are the only flying mammal on the planet and share a massive role in humans and the ecosystem. Bats consume vast amounts of pests like mosquitos, moths, and flies. They also pollinate flowers and regenerate forests by dispersing various plant seeds.

Conservation issues are also a concern for bats, leading to a population decline in these flying mammals. There are several reasons this is happening, such as loss of prey species and pesticide contamination. Bats can also drown in places like water troughs and can get stuck in wind turbines.

Bats can also contract white-nose syndrome, which has killed millions of the species. Bats that contract white-nose syndrome usually have a white fungus around their faces and can exhibit unusual behavior like flying outside during the day in the winter. 

Humans should never pick up a sick or dead bat: if you encounter a bat in your living space, call Montana Fish Wildlife and parks so they can capture it and see what should be done. Learn more about bats and other animals in Montana by clicking here.