Title

Factors affecting bat house occupancy in Colorado

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

The Southwestern Naturalist

Volume

49

Publisher

Southwestern Association of Naturalists

Publication Date

2004

First Page

344

Last Page

349

Abstract

Artificial roosts known as bat houses have been developed to replace natural roosts that are destroyed and to create new roosts where they are lacking. I investigated the effects of variables related to bat house characteristics and ecological conditions on patterns of roost occupancy in 95 bat houses. Bat houses seem to have been used exclusively as day roosts, with an overall occupancy rate of 11.6%. The presence of bats roosting in the immediate area prior to the placement of the house was an important predictor of occupancy. When bats were already present at a site, the occupancy rate increased to 63.6%. Likelihood of occupancy also was increased by providing houses with larger landing areas, by mounting them on buildings instead of trees, and by placing houses in areas with low canopy cover and low levels of human disturbance. Bat houses are probably best used when a roost is going to be destroyed, or a colony excluded, and when the houses can be placed in the immediate area of the old roost.

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