Red Bat, Chris Harshaw photoLong-eared Bat, US Fish & Wildlife photoLittle Brown Bat, US Fish & Wildlife photo

The Crown of the Continent supports approximately ten species of bats. The only mammal capable of sustained flight, bat species in Montana are insectivores able to consume one third of their body weight in insects during their nocturnal feeding periods. Since their appearance 52.5 million years ago, many bat species have developed sophisticated echolocation mechanisms to find their prey in the dark via sound waves. With the approach of winter, some bat species fly to warmer areas, while others remain to find safe roosting sites and go into torpor, slowing their body functions down until roused by warm weather.

Recent outbreaks of White-nose Syndrome, which has killed more than 5 million bats in the eastern US, has sparked bat studies in the West. Bat surveys in Waterton-Glacier have resulted in the discovery of three species previously unobserved in the region. Future studies are planned to determine the health and distribution of bats in the Crown of the Continent.