Close
Menu

Montana is home to 15 different species of bats. These bats range in size from the tiny Western Small-Footed Myotis weighing in at just 5 grams (that is 5 sugar packets) to the larger Hoary bat weighing in around 25 grams. Regardless of their size all bats need lots of insects to survive including those pesky mosquitos. The agricultural pest control service of bats in Montana is valued at $680 million dollars/year (insert the attached pdf here)! Yet, bats everywhere are threatened by habitat loss, pesticide use, and a new disease called White-nose Syndrome that has killed 6 million bats in eastern states. Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks works to conserve bats and their important role in our ecosystem through disease prevention, habitat conservation, and species monitoring.

bats at work

Meet the Hard Working Bats of Montana

bats at work
bat

No Margaritas-

Do you enjoy Tequila?

Then you need to raise your glass to the pollinating bats that helped bring it to us! Tequila is made from the agave plant, which relies solely on bats to pollinate its flowers and reproduce.


crop

Crop Pests

Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences confirms that bats play a significant role in combating corn crop pests, saving more than $1 billion a year in crop damages around the world.

Bat Conservation International funded the two-year experiment in cornfields near Horseshoe Lake in southern Illinois.

Rabies

You can't get rabies from bats flying around in your yard. Less then 1% of all bats are found to have rabies. Human exposure to rabies is usually due to accidental or careless handling of bats. Rabies can only be transmitted through a bite or from bat saliva entering a cut or wound. Bats should never be touched with bare hands. Avoid bats that display abnormal behavior such as those found active during the day or are unable to fly. Teach children to never pick up a bat. Have all dogs and cats vaccinated for rabies. Every bat bite or contact must be considered a potential exposure to rabies. If there has been an encounter, wash the area with soap and water then seek medical attention. Capture the bat, alive if possible, and don't damage the head.

If the bat is dead, keep it in a clean jar in the refrigerator (not the freezer) until it is submitted for rabies testing. Rabies is fatal once the symptoms appear, but the virus has a long incubation period. Prompt vaccination after exposure can prevent the disease in humans. Rabies shots are no longer the painful ordeal they once were. They are usually given in the arm, and are no more painful than a tetanus shot, but they are very expensive. Testing the bat is the best way to know if shots are needed.

Wildlife Research