Field Trips

Bats in Your Backyard

A brown bat with white-nose syndrome.
A brown bat with white-nose syndrome.

New York Department of Environmental Conservation

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Bats are among the least studied and most feared and misunderstood animals. During this classroom visit students learn about the diversity (the different types) and fascinating adaptations of bats. They study their roles (or jobs) in the ecosystem, including in Acadia National Park. The program even breaks through some popular myths about bats with a true/false "quiz"!

Characteristics of mammals are reviewed i.e. endothermic (warm-blooded, control body temperature internally), hair/fur, live birth (most), and nourish young with milk. Bat habits and habitats are discussed. Bats have the best hearing of all land mammals. The process known as echolocation allows these animals to sense in the dark. Echoes and sound waves are demonstrated with a ball and a slinky.

One way researchers can find bats to study is by using a bat detector. Students investigate bat anatomy and flight with the help of a bat skeleton and images. They play the Who Am I? Adaptation game and become bat detectives, figuring out the answers to a variety of clue questions by researching bats and their food sources. A short slideshow features the great diversity of bats from around the world.

Next, the program leader shows common household items that represent the importance of bats. Some examples of why they are important are food chains, reforestation, fertilizer, seed dispersal and pollination. More than 50% of U.S. bat species are in severe decline or listed as endangered. Losses are occurring at alarming rates worldwide.The presentation covers several threats to bats such as habitat loss and pollution. Special attention is given to white-nose-syndrome, a fungal infection that is decimating colonies of hibernating bats.

The final segment focuses on the different bat species in Acadia and research methods used in the park. We conclude by identifying ways we can all help bats survive such as recycling, education, bat houses, gardening, and less light pollution.



Acadia Education Office
207-288-8822 or 8823


Biology: Animals, Conservation, Environment
National/State Standards:
5-ESS3-1, MS-LS2-4, 4-LS1-1
Field Trips