All About Bats

Bats at Pinnacles find refuge in the caves, cliffs, and trees. There is currently a colony of Townsend's Big-eared Bats in the Bear Gulch Cave and a colony of the Western Mastiff bat in the Balconies cave area.

Out of the 23 species of bats in California, 14 species are known to occur within Pinnacles National Park. All of the 14 species at Pinnacles and 41 of the 44 North American bats eat insects, spiders, and their kin. Three species eat fruit or nectar. There are only three species of vampire bats—they live in South America and feed on birds and mammals.

Western Pipstrelle (Pipistellus hesperus)
Western Red Bat (Lasiurus blossevilii)
Hoary Bat (Laisiurus cinerius)
Townsend's Big-eared Bat (Corynorhinus townsendii)
Pallid Bat (Antrozous pallidus)
Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus)
California Myotis (Myotis californicus)
Small footed Myotis (Myotis ciliolabrum)
Long eared Myotis (Myotis evotis)
Fringed Myotis (Myotis thysanodes)
Long-legged Myotis (Myotis volans)
Yuma Myotis (Myotis yumanensis)
Brazilian Free-tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensis)
Western Mastiff Bat (Eumops perotis)

Bats may not be the most visible wildlife around, but they are doing a lot behind the scenes that affects larger ecosystems and, by extension, humans.

They control insect populations, which helps farmers and crops.

Bats eat A LOT of insects. Did you know that bats save the US agriculture industry more than $3 billion a year by naturally reducing crop damage and pesticide use? Many bat species also help disperse seeds and pollinate plants.

They help disperse seeds and pollinate plants.

Considering that many pollinators are at risk based on this UN report, we need all the help in this category that we can get.

They are part of the food web.

Their nutrient-rich guano provides food to smaller organisms, and many larger organisms like hawks, falcons, and owls rely on them for prey. Bats help keep natural areas healthy. Other living things depend on bats for survival. Organisms that live in caves rely on bat guano (droppings) for nutrients. Fruit-eating bats in the Pacific Islands and Latin America disperse seeds, and nectar-eating bats in the Southwestern US pollinate plants, such as blue agave (that’s right, bats help you drink tequila!). Several animals, including hawks, falcons, owls, weasels and ringtail cats, rely on bats as prey. If a population of bats crashes in an area, other affected populations will likely decline as well.

This means that bat population crashes have economic and ecological repercussions.

Plus, bats are cute, weird, and inspiring! We want to give the next generation the chance to be fascinated by their wild ability to echolocate prey, hibernate through the winter in massive colonies, and evoke maximum cuteness.

Townsend's big eared bat perched on a rock.
Bat Inventory at Pinnacles National Park

Researchers use multiple survey techniques to study the diversity of bat species at Pinnacles.

Biologist grins while handling a bat.
Updates from the Field

Get the latest on bats from the Bay Area Nature & Science Blog.

Bat flying with open wings in a cave.
Bat Mythbusting

Bats are often misunderstood. Do you know the difference between fact and fiction when it comes to bats?

Little bat crawling on a rock.
Bats in National Parks

Discover the secret lives of bats, and how the National Park Service is working to conserve them.


Threats to Bats

Across North America, bats face many different threats. A devastating disease called white-nose syndrome, changing climate, windmill turbines, and habitat loss have caused large numbers of bats to die.
Small fuzzy bat with white fungus growing on it's nose.
What is White Nose Syndrome?

Learn more about the bat disease that's spread across North America, killing millions of bats.

Photo of snow partially melted on a lake surrounded by dramatic rock formations.
Climate Change

Unusual changes in seasonal weather patterns can make it difficult for bats to survive.

Image of green field with large white wind turbines.
Wind Turbines

Collisions with wind turbines are one threat bats face, but there may be some ways of reducing risk.

Bats flying through a blue sky over the silhouette of trees at dusk.
Habitat Loss

Safe places for bats to live and thrive are disappearing.


Bat Conservation

Bat Monitoring at Pinnacles

Park biologists conduct research and monitoring to better understand bats at Pinnacles. This work has become especially relevant due to the spread of white nose syndrome, a deadly disease caused by a fungal pathogen that is affecting bats across North America. Information about bat roosting habits and how bats use different habitats could help researchers understand how susceptible the bats at Pinnacles may be to this disease. In the event that the fungus spreads to Pinnacles, this knowledge may prove critical for protecting local bat populations. Bat monitoring at Pinnacles is part of a collaborative, multi-agency monitoring effort happening throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Small furry bat peeks out from the white-gloved hands of a researcher.
Bat Conservation in the SF Bay Area

What is the NPS doing about bat conservation and preventing the spread of White nose syndrome in the San Francisco Bay Area region?

Close-up of Bat with fuzzy white nose syndrome fungus visible on its nose.
White Nose Syndrome Projects In Parks

Park staff manage projects to learn more about white-nose syndrome.


What can you do to protect bats at Pinnacles?

Visitors, climbers, cavers, and outdoors enthusiasts:

As a visitor to Pinnacles, you are a crucial part of our efforts to prevent the spread of white nose syndrome. The fungus that causes white nose syndrome can survive on your clothes and gear for a long time, meaning you could unknowingly traffic the fungus into a new environment where it could infect bats. You can help by being aware of your gear and surroundings.

  • Clean clothing and gear between trips with soap and water. Learn how to Decontaminate your gear!
  • Stay on the trail.
  • Raise awareness about the importance of these practices in protecting bats and other wildlife among your family, friends, and communities.

In and around your home, garden, and community:

  • Don’t bother bats, and call a professional if there’s one in your house.
  • Reduce your use of pesticides.
  • Plant flowers to attract night pollinators.
  • Install a bat box in your yard or community.

Volunteer and advocate!


Last updated: November 22, 2019

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

5000 East Entrance Road
Paicines, CA 95043


831 389-4486
Please call the number above for all park related inquiries. For camping questions contact the Pinnacles Campground at (831) 200-1722. For the park book store, please call (831) 389-4485.

Contact Us