AgEBB-MU CAFNR Extension

Green Horizons

Volume 22, Number 2
Spring 2018


Nursing Moms Need Shaggy Bark:

Consider Bats During Summer Forest Management

By Rebecca Landewe| The Nature Conservancy

Many people probably think of Halloween at any mention of bats, but if we're managing our woods, the summer season is an important time to consider these important creatures. Missouri is fortunate to be home to many bat species, including several of conservation concern. This means that Missourians have the opportunity to protect and enhance habitat for these unique flying mammals and minimize any potential negative impacts of our management activities.

Like humans, bats are mammals and nurse their young. Baby bats, called pups, are born in May or June and require two to five weeks of nursing from their mom before they can fly and forage for insects. Some bat species, like the red bat, roost in trees year-round. What many may not realize is that trees are important for cave-hibernating bat species too. During the late spring and early summer, mother bats leave the cave with their pups, seeking out live and dead trees with shaggy or loose bark as roosting sites. In these protected niches, they nurse their pups until they are strong enough to fly and forage for insects on their own.

Well-managed forests provide good habitat for bats, but a few additional considerations can help. For example, retaining dead snags or shaggy-barked trees, like shagbark hickory, in your forest could provide suitable roosting habitat for bats. Conversely, cutting a tree at the wrong time could directly impact their ability to survive the summer roosting season.

If you're planning on doing management this summer, there are several things you can do to minimize the impacts on bats. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has several recommendations to help bat species, like the endangered Indiana bat or the threatened northern long-eared bat. Some of the recommendations include:

This is a general list of a few recommendations. For complete details visit: endspecies/timbermgtguide_Ibat_hibernacula.pdf mammals/nleb/faqsinterim4drulenleb.html

Bat Facts

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