Are Bats in Alaska?


Alaska is the largest state by land area, and has one of the most diverse amount of mammals   Bats are found in most parts of North America, and Alaska has areas with plenty of food and a conducive living environment.   

Many species of bats can be found in Alaska, with the following the most common.  Little brown bats, Keen’s long-eared bat, long-legged myotis, silver-haired bat, the hoary bat and Yuma myotis all live in Alaska. 

The little brown bats are the most common bat in Alaska.  They are found in most parts of the state, and have a long lifespan of between 20 and 30 years. 

The little brown bat is the only bat found in the interior, and south-central Alaska.  The other bat species are found in the southeast, although not in as large numbers as compared to that of the little brown bat. 

The little brown bat breeds in late fall or winter, and their population is constantly rising during these periods. The most common bat found throughout Alaska is the little brown bat, and it inhabits forested areas across the state, and occasionally into western parts of Alaska.  

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Where to Find Bats in Alaska?

If you want to see bats in Alaska, here are some of the best places to see them.

Glacier Bay National Park

This beautiful area has a large amount of silver-haired bats. This region is suited for most species of bats in Alaska, and the area has such a very supportive living environment for them to survive. 

The Glacier Bay National Park is a great habitat for bats to live, as they find enough food here.  The   area has a good climate for the bats to survive.  There are several species of bats in Alaska, which occupy this ecological niche.

Wet Areas and Forests

Bats in Alaska are found in wet areas, such as riversides and streams.  Here  there are aquatic-based insects which they eat such as mosquitoes and moths.  Bats can be seen along most wetlands at night.  

They not only live on the riversides but also in forested areas where there is enough food. Bats also live in the more garages and more occasionally identified as living in caves in the northern state reaches. Serine land of Alaska is Bats based area and leaves them for their hibernation.

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Around Wildlife

Everywhere that bats exist there are droppings or scat from wildlife or pets.  The bats urinate on the droppings bringing out a pungent smell of ammonia. 

Bats are commonly found in Alaska because they get their necessary diets from these animal droppings and they are able to get supplements of their daily food.  Large animals such as bears and moose can attract a lot of bats.

Crevices 

During winter in Alaska, most bats migrate to give them a better chance of survival.  If they do not migrte, they will hibernte.  They hibernate in rock crevices and in loose tree bark.

During winter, they live in forested areas to escape the harsh conditions.  Bats in Alaska are rarely seen due to lack of their diet of insects during the long winter. Bats overwinter in caves, and they will also hibernate in mine shafts and buildings, particularly sheds and cabins not frequented by humans. 

Bats in these places are much favored during cold seasons, and in such cases, numbers gradually increase.

Plantations 

In Alaska Farmers sometimes depend on bats as a biological insect control method.  The bats feed on insects like stalk borers, helping to control insect populations in farm areas.  This also has the added bonus of reducing the effects of using insecticides. 

These areas in Alaska are very supportive of an increasing number of bats, and that is why bats are commonly found in these places.

Interior, South-central and Southeast Alaska

These are some areas in Alaska where there are roosting areas for bats.  The area houses a large number of bats, and bats hibernate in these areas during winter.  They create large colonies, where they give birth and raise their young ones. The area is commonly known as a habitat of different variety of bats species.

How do we Know There are Bats in Alaska?

The following shows evidence that bats are found in the state of Alaska.

Reports From Health Departments in Alaska 

According to health reports, many residents are in danger of contracting rabies in Alaska.  Bats bats are known to spreadthis deadly disease, if not handled with care. 

Although the northeast part of Alaska has fewer cases of rabies, the few cases prove that bats exist in Alaska, and that rabies is a danger. 

Health departments have emphasized more awareness to be taken of this disease, and people are cautioned not to have any contact with bats as they might spread this further.  The disease has recently increased in Washington from the state of Alaska.

Bat surveys 

The state of Alaska is as technologically advanced, as anywhere else in the country.  Consequently, researchers have switched to more objective methods of surveys.  

Researchers use bat detection machines to identify bats, even when they are not easily seen by the naked eye.  

Their calls can be recorded on sonar detections and are converted to sounds. Using these machines, researchers can graph the frequency and duration of most ultrasonic calls.  

They can then determine the number of bat calls at the location and even identify the species of bat.  Each species uses a slightly different frequency. 

Sounds

Bats are commonly found in enclosed areas such as caves and in mining shafts.  During the day and night they produce disturbing sounds to people living around these areas. 

Several researchers applied a special technique known as acoustic monitoring to convert this sounds produced by bats, for them to be easily heard. Bat detectors can help us find out if bats are in an area, what time of the day or night they are present, and helps to distinguish different types of bats.

Seasons  

Bats in Alaska mostly hibernate during winter seasons, due to the lack of insects during the long winter.  They will roost in buildings and rock crevices to stay out of the harsh winter conditions. 

In winter, bats can be found in attics, garages sheds and cabin in residential areas.  Winter is when most people realize the extent of the bat population in Alaska.  Bats also stay in caves and hibernate in mine shafts and buildings not frequented by humans.

What are the risks to the population size of Bats in Alaska?

Bats exhibiting white-nose syndrome behave in a strange manner, flying outside on cold winter days and clustering outside of cave entrances. 

Weather Conditions 

Most Alaska bats hibernate or migrate to more favorable climes during cold conditions.  Most bats that stay in Alaska, will stay in caves, buildings, and mine shafts. 

The winter is when large proportions of the bat population can die, as Alaska usually experiences long winters. 

Most bats migrate to more favorable areas that they will able to get enough food to survive.  For the bats that are too unfit for the migration, the cold weather usually caused a huge decline in numbers.

White-nose Syndrome 

Bats are increasingly threatened by a deadly disease that strikes them where they are most vulnerable, in their winter refuge.  The fungus is called white-nose syndrome because it covers the nose and other body parts. 

The fungus is spread by contact with other bats when clustered in their hibernaculum.  The disease is said to have killed millions of bats over the past few decades.

Conclusion

Bats don’t have a specific ecological niche, and in Alaska, they are found everywhere.  They are mostly found in caves, mineshafts, forests and along waterways.

They are a major instrument of spreading diseases such as rabies, and should not be handled.

They can also of great advantage to farmers, as they serve as biological control of pests in farms. People living around places occupied by a large population of bats must take conservative measures to keep their distance.

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Bryan Harding

Bryan has spent his whole life around animals. While loving all animals, Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Not only does Bryan share his knowledge and experience with our readers, but he also serves as owner, editor, and publisher of North American Mammals.

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