Southeast Alaska Bats

Still working through a cold and with the end of the semester had plenty course stuff to deal with to keep me busy, but did manage to find time to attend a seminar on bats in Southeast Alaska. Karen Blejwas of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game gave the talk that began with an overview of bat biology and habits, then spent spent the rest of the time providing information gained during the first year of the Southeast Alaska Bat Monitoring Program – mostly done in Juneau so far.

It was interesting – and informative to be reminded just how little is known about bats in the region. I’ve been thinking lately about all the empty spots on the map for bird observations, but in comparison with bats, birds are quite well known in the area. Perhaps the most interesting part of the evening was a report at the end from an audience member that they had found a bat alive in the ground a couple of winters ago. It had crawled into a hole and was well underground. That may be the first winter record of a live bat in the region, I’m not really sure. On several occasions I have noticed frost-lined small holes in the ground during cold snaps, and had always figured it was probably squirrels, but I suppose it could be bats. It’s hard to imagine that bats in torpor (with heart rates at 5 beats per minute and temperatures not much over ambient) would be putting out that much moisture, however.

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