With abundant cliff, cave, and tree roosting habitat near wetlands that bats use for foraging, Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area supports an abundance and broad distribution of bats, all of them insectivores.
A single little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus, the most common of the species) can consume 1,200 mosquito-sized insects in an hour. The distribution of these bat species tends to be highly localized near sources of food, water, and roosting structures. They roost in natural habitats as well as in bridges, buildings, abandoned mines, and other man-made structures, which can lead to conflicts with human use and historical preservation plans.
An inventory completed in 2004 identified 12 bat species in Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. They are:
- Little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus)
- Big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus)
- Long-eared myotis (Myotis evotis)
- Long-legged myotis (Myotis volans)
- Small-footed myotis (Myotis ciliolabrum)
- Spotted bat (Euderma maculatum)
- Yuma Myotis (Myotis yumanensis)
- Townsend's big-eared bat (Corynorhinus Townsendii)
- Fringe-tailed bat (Myotis thysanodes)
- Hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus)
- Pallid bat (Antrozous pallidus)
- Silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans)
Viewing Bats in Bighorn Canyon NRA
Bats are found in greatest abundance in the Yellowtail Wildlife Habitat Managment Area
because of the bountiful insect life. Evidence of all of the above species was also found in the Layout Creek area of the Ewing-Snell Ranch. The most likely bats to be sighted are the Little brown bat and the Big brown bat.
Source: Bat Inventory of the Greater Yellowstone Network. Keinath, 2005.