Have you seen sign of bats?

As a climber, you spend a lot of time in landscapes that bats also spend time in. Cliffs have the nooks and crannies that bats think are ideal for roosting, but, you may not always see them when they are there. You may see SIGN of bats, though, in the form of guano or insect parts they’ve culled from their meals. However, not all poop found at cliffs is from bats. There are a few other species that leave poop along cliff walls.

If you are sure you’ve seen bats or sign of bats, please email us at climbersforbats@colostate.edu and tell us about it.

Bat guano (pinched, and shiny when crushed)

Bat guano is about the size of mouse poop, but is noticeably pinched at the ends (see above). Also, guano is easily crushed and it has bits of shiny material in it. That shiny material is flakes of crushed-up insect. The hard chitin of insect parts gets chewed by bats, and shows up as shiny bits in their guano. If you use this method, please wash your hands well after.

Mouse and packrat/woodrat poop

Mouse poop is the same size as bat guano (at least in North America, it is), but the poop from mice is rounded at each end, and is difficult to crush. Because mice eat a lot of vegetation material their poop is compact and difficult to crush. Packrats, or woodrats, are another common species along cliffs and they have poop similar to mice and bats, but it is larger and is rounded at both ends like mouse poop (see above).

Woodrats create latrines where they regularly defecate, creating great piles of similar-sized poop that is larger than bat guano. Also, woodrats tend to urinate in the same location, creating a greasy, black streaking that is called “amberat” that resembles hardened, black tree sap.