Bat Cave, Swamp Style

At the edge of the swamp, surrounded by bald cypress, this tupelo gum (Nyssa aquatica) provides a home for a colony of Southeastern Myotis (Myotis austroriparius). And what, you might well ask, is a myotis? It's a bat - a cute little bat - and this tree is full of them.

Treebeard happened upon this particular tree about five years ago while out surveying hollow trees. We've been keeping an eye on it ever since. Recently we installed a data-logger inside the hollow. The equipment will record temperature and humidity continually for a year. When we retrieve the packet we will send it to bat researchers who will then use this data, along with data from many other trees, to help them understand what makes a tree attractive to bats. In turn, this information may help the bat folks design better artificial roosts for bats.
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Anonymous said...

Great photo! I have a long-standing fondness for bats and other reviled creatures. I didn't know that there were trees with large enough spaces inside for bats to call home.

I've yet to hear of anyone having success with putting up a bat house, but I like the idea. Let's hope the researchers come up with some good remodeling tips.

swamp4me said...

sadly, the number of trees with large enough hollows is dwindling as more and more land is cleared. Just to our north a local logging crew that specializes in cutting trees in wetlands - yes, you read that right - IN WETLANDS!!!! - clear cut a stand of bald cypress right in the height of breeding and nesting season for just about everything. Nearly every tree was hollow. Useless to the loggers so the trees are just lying where they fell. Makes me sick to think about it. [Whoops! I make a conscious effort to avoiding climbing on my soapbox on this blog...just pretend you didn't read this comment ;)]

Cathy said...

So when you retrieve that data equipment after an entire year - will it be buried under bat guano? Ewww.

(Just kidding:0) I think it's lovely that you're helping in the effort to promote the bats' welfare.

swamp4me said...

Not to worry, we attached the data packets up in the hollow. No digging through bat poop at the end of the year!