Bat Houses: The Secrets of Success to a 92% Occupancy Rate

A new BCI study on bat house use in the United States reveals that bats are occupying bat houses season after season in record numbers . . .

By Merlin D. Tuttle and Donna Hensley

"It is clear from this study that when bat houses are placed to meet bat needs, occupancy success is high. Taking the survey results for the northern third of the United States, where we found bat houses are most used and are now best understood, we checked to see what the success rate was for houses that met just two of the most important criteria. We looked at all that were located a quarter of a mile or less from a stream or river, or a lake larger than three acres, and that received at least four or more hours of daily sun. The occupancy rate for these houses, without consideration of other factors, was 83 percent. When we further limited the sample by adding houses stained or painted dark, occupancy rose to 92 percent. (This proved important for heat gain in northern latitudes.) When we added another condition— houses located in areas of mixed agriculture (mostly orchards)—100 percent of the 13 houses meeting all four criteria were occupied. For reasons as yet unknown, bats seemed to be especially attracted to such areas."

© Bat Conservation International, Inc.
Used with Permission.

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