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- Bat-Viewing Opportunities
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Bat houseBat House Project
Arizona's bats are an invaluable natural resource. Bats are the primary predator of night-flying insects such as moths, beetles, and mosquitoes. A single bat can catch hundreds of insects in just one hour. Installing a bat house is an excellent way to learn more about bats and their roosting habits. Also, attracting bats to your area is a natural way to reduce lawn and garden pests.

To improve your success at attracting bats to your bat house remember to keep the following in mind:

  • Temperature is a critical factor in roost selection. In the hottest areas of Arizona, bat houses should be on north- or east-facing structures where they will receive morning sun, but be shaded from direct sun in the afternoon.
  • Mount bat houses on the side of a building or on a pole at least 12 feet above ground (higher is better). Houses mounted on trees are usually not successful.
  • Remember bats like a clear swoop zone to exit and enter their roost, so avoid placing the house in an area with obstacles, such as tree branches.
  • Do not mount the bat house close to bright lights.
  • In Arizona, bat houses should be painted a light color to reflect heat.

Do you have a bat house in Arizona?
We would love to hear from you. Let us know what's working (and what's not!) to help us determine what sort of bat houses work best in our hot climate. Send information to bats@azgfd.gov.

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Bat-Watching Area
Did you know Phoenix has a great urban bat-watching opportunity? Each summer several thousand Mexican free-tailed bats and western pipistrelle bats use the Maricopa County Flood Control Tunnel near 40th Street and Camelback Road as a day roost.

Directions to see the bats:
From 40th Street and Camelback Road intersection, head north on 40th Street. (Parking is very limited; please respect private property and restricted areas. You may need to park south of the intersection.) The path (levee) to the tunnel is located on the north side of the Arizona Canal. Head west on the path about 200 yards (past buildings and parking garage). You will see the flood control channel just north of the canal. Head north about 20 feet from the gravel path to the paved path. The paved path will take you to the top of the tunnel (you'll see bat-watching information signs posted here), and you can look over as the bats fly out of the tunnel.

They exit the tunnel just after sunset each night (total exit time; approximately 45 minutes) throughout the summer months (May through October). If you're an early bird, you may just want to see them return around sunrise each morning!

If you know of other urban bat areas, please e-mail us at bats@azgfd.gov.

 
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Related AZGFD Info
- Arizona's Natural Heritage Program (HDMS): Mammals
- Watchable Wildlife
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External Resources [More]
- Western Bat Working Group
- Bat Conservation International
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