USGS Western Ecological Research Center

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Bat Research in California

Townsend's big-eared bat. Photo courtesy of Merlin D. Tuttle © Bat Conservation International.
The contact for the San Diego county area is Drew Stokes (, the contact for the San Francisco Bay area is Gary Fellers (

Project Details

Bats are very misunderstood creatures. Although there are some risks associated with handling bats or any wild animal, they are noted for many more benefits, such as consuming vast numbers of insects, pollinating certain species of plants, and distributing seeds of fruits. Like other wildlife, if handled or molested they will defend themselves by biting. Like all mammals, bats can be carriers of the rabies virus. You should not pick up a bat that is on the ground, or touch one that is roosting.

Scientists at the USGS Western Ecological Research Center are studying bats in the San Francisco Bay area and in southern California to provide land managers information they need regarding the occurrence and status of bat species. Survey techniques include detecting bats by their vocalizations, observing foraging bats, and capturing bats at foraging or roosting sites. These scientists regularly handle bats, but they have been trained in appropriate capture and handling techniques, and they have been vaccinated against rabies.

WERC Research

Related Bat Links

USGS Contact For This Project
Gary Fellers - Emeritus
(415) 464-5185
Pt. Reyes Field Station
Pt. Reyes National Seashore
Pt. Reyes, CA 94956-9799
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