US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in Ecological Applications, 17(2), 2007, pp. 620–627.


We investigated movements of female big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) roosting in maternity colonies in buildings in Fort Collins, Colorado (USA), during the summers of 2002, 2003, and 2005. This behavior can be of public health concern where bats that may carry diseases (e.g., rabies) move among buildings occupied by people. We used passive integrated transponders (PIT tags) to mark individual bats and hoop PIT readers at emergence points to passively monitor the use of building roosts by marked adult females on a daily basis during the lactation phase of reproduction. Multi-strata models were used to examine movements among roosts in relation to ambient temperatures and ectoparasite loads. Our results suggest that high ambient temperatures influence movements. Numbers of mites (Steatonyssus occidentalis) did not appear to influence movements of female bats among building roosts. In an urban landscape, periods with unusually hot conditions are accompanied by shifting of bats to different buildings or segments of buildings, and this behavior may increase the potential for contact with people in settings where, in comparison to their more regularly used buildings, the bats may be more likely to be of public concern as nuisances or health risks.