If you have seen bats in Alaska, report your sighting.
Bat Basics In Alaska
Many Alaskans are unaware that bats live in their state. Alaska is home to five species of bat, with the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) being the most common by far. This species is found throughout Southeast, Southcentral, and Interior Alaska. All other bat species are almost exclusively found in Southeast Alaska. The big brown bat has only been recorded once in Alaska in 1955, so is not counted among the five species.
To learn more about bat species in Alaska, click on their names below:
- little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus)
- long-legged myotis (Myotis volans)
- California myotis (Myotis californicus)
- silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans)
- Keen’s myotis (Myotis keenii)
Bats In Trouble
Bats throughout the world are on the decline due to human-related factors. They have a slow reproduction rate, so they are vulnerable to rapid declines. The following factors are contributing to declines globally:
- Lack of research and knowledge of bats, meaning scientists are less able to protect their critical needs
- Habitat destruction due to increased development, deforestation and closures of abandoned mines
- Prey base is altered by use of pesticides in some areas
- Directly killed by humans, sometimes out of fear
- Hibernation and maternal roost disturbances which lead to abandonment of the roost site, a loss of valuable energy needed to hibernate and the deaths of young bats who are flightless and dropped by their mothers during disturbances
A Lack Of Information In Alaska
There is little known about basic bat ecology in Alaska. The little brown myotis is known to feed and roost throughout Southcentral and Interior Alaska, however, their distribution and abundance during the summer months is poorly understood, and even less is known about where they go in the winter. Although it is believed that little brown myotis from Interior and Southcentral Alaska fly south to hibernate where the winters are a little less severe, neither these migrations nor the actual locations of hibernacula important to migrating bats have been documented. We simply don’t know where our little brown myotis go. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the entire genera Myotis as a conservation concern in 2003. It is important that we continue to learn more about bats and bat ecology in Alaska so we can conserve resources critical to their survival and prevent population declines.
You can help us gather basic information on the distribution and habitat of these amazing flighted mammals. You will be armed with general bat information and will become our eyes and ears in the field. We ask the public to report any observations of bats in Alaska, regardless of location or number. You can do this easily with the ADF&G online reporting form.
For more information about bats and participating in the citizen science program, check out the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website.