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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 forty-one of the forty-four 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.

Bat Blog

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 the U.S., bats face many different threats. The devastating disease called white-nose syndrome, windmill turbines, habitat loss, and climate change have caused large numbers of bats to die.

Bat Conservation

Bat Monitoring

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 affecting bats caused by a fungal pathogen. Information about bat roosting habits and how bats use different habitats could help us 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.

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.


Visitors, Climbers, and Cavers: What can you do to protect bats at Pinnacles?

As a visitor to Pinnacles, you are a crucial part of our efforts to prevent the spread of white nose syndrome.You can help by:

  • Decontaminating clothing and gear between trips

  • Staying on the trail

  • Raising awareness about the importance of these practices in protecting bats and other wildlife among your family, friends, and communities


Last updated: October 16, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

5000 Highway 146
Paicines, CA 95043


(831) 389-4486
To contact the Pinnacles Campground, please call (831) 200-1722.

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