Climate Change and Bats

by Dawn Vezina

As we learn more about the effects that climate change may have on our planet, researchers are concerned about bats. Bats are likely to be impacted by climate change in many ways. 

Hibernation is one area of concern.  Scientists have found some animals that hibernate are waking up earlier.  If bats wake up before their food source is available, they could face starvation.  Climate change can impact the internal temperature of roosts, causing bats to abandon roosts that were used for years.

Because climate change can alter temperature and rainfall, this can influence the bats food supply.   Insect-feeding bats depend on large amounts of insects, and insects often need water to reproduce.  If there is less rainfall in the spring and summer there will be fewer insects for the bats to eat.  Fruit-eating bats would also be affected, as fruit production is often tied to temperature and rainfall. Fewer fruiting trees would make it difficult for the bats to find enough to eat.

Loss of proper roost sites, along with a reduced food supply, could disrupt reproduction. If the temperature causes bats to wake early, they could reproduce earlier as well. If the food supply is low when the pups are born, mother bats could have a hard time providing nourishment for their pups

The effects of climate change will likely have some influence on all creatures. There are simple ways you can help reduce the impact of climate change.

  • Use less electricity by installing compact fluorescent light bulbs and unplugging electronics when not in use.  (Chargers use electricity even when not charging.)
  • Walk or ride a bike when possible
  • Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
  • Plant a tree



© 2012 Organization for Bat Conservation