Finding, Protecting, and Restoring America’s Historic Bat Caves

For example, in northern Florida, lands located on the highest ground were the first to be developed, meaning that remaining caves, available for bats, tend to be in flood prone areas.

Advice for Young People Interested in Science and Conservation

Imagine what life would be like if you could find a job that was as much fun as the things you dream about doing on vacation. Not just having fun, but also doing things that would make you proud. Believe it or not that is possible!

Exaggerated Disease Warnings


How Disturbance Harms Hibernating Bats

At a time when WNS is forcing increased arousals and high mortality due to premature exhaustion of limited fat reserves, every possible precaution must be taken to minimize disturbance and restore the best possible hibernation conditions.

How I Photograph Bats

“I learned to photograph bats as an act of desperation. If efforts to conserve bats were to succeed, people needed to see them as they naturally are–gentle, inquisitive, even beautiful.” -Merlin Tuttle Pictured is Merlin preparing to photograph newly tamed spectral bat (Vampyrum spectrum). This gentle and intelligent carnivorous species is one of Merlin’s favorites.

Rabies in Perspective

Millions of tourists have watched free-tailed bat emergences from the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas over the past 35 years without anyone ever having been harmed. Signs warn visitors not to handle the bats.

Wind Energy Neglecting Bats

merlin looking for impact on bats

The cumulative impact of wind power facilities in killing migratory bats threatens to become an environmental crisis that cannot be ignored. By 2012, more than 600,000 bats were being killed annually, and the number grows each year (Hayes 2013).

Bats and Mosquito Control

A little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus) in flight in Wisconsin. One bat can catch up to 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in a single hour.

Bats are primary predators of the vast numbers of insects that fly at night, and some species consume large numbers of mosquitoes when they are available. However, mosquito control is a complex problem that rarely can be solved by a single approach, be it bat houses or pesticides.

How To Restore WNS-Depleted Bat Populations

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is caused by a fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans). It has spread rapidly across North America since it apparently arrived from Europe in 2006, and it has killed millions of bats. However, because infected bats can quickly travel long distances, even the best efforts of wildlife managers, biologists, and cavers have failed to prevent its spread from coast to coast.

How to Deal with Bat Parasites

Colonial bats can harbor ectoparasites, from bat flies to mites, fleas, and even bed bugs. The good news is that most bat parasites are highly host-specific. Unless they’re starving, they much prefer to remain with their bat hosts. It may also be reassuring to know that disease transmission from bat parasites to humans is exceedingly rare, if it occurs at all. In fact, in a lifetime of studying bats, I’ve never heard of it.

Issues Publication in Defense of Bats

Read Merlin’s article, Give Bats a Break, in the Spring 2017 edition of Issues in Science and Technology. This report is based on Merlin’s review of thousands of scientific papers and popular media stories. And it is the first to expose how sensational speculation is fostering bad science in a self-perpetuating cycle of misdirected public health funding that threatens the future of bats. This is an issue that we cannot ignore.

White-Nose Syndrome

Photo by Bill Hicks

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is caused by a fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (formerly known as Geomyces destructans). It was first recorded from a photo taken in a cave in Schoharie County, New York in 2006.

Wind Energy: Key Planning Issues

Pre-siting Environmental Impact Studies: These are typically under-funded, inadequate to evaluate true wildlife risks, and often do not include objective, scientific peer review, either of methodology or results. Most are too short in duration and fail to consider the potential for turbines to attract bats in numbers not present during pre-siting monitoring.