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DWR will host 'Meet the Bats Night' Saturday

A pallid bat is one of five species that may be captured and checked during Meet the Bats Night July 21. This little guy weighs about one ounce.

During the night of Saturday, July 21, the Division of Wildlife Resources will host a "Meet the Bats" night in southeastern Utah. The event is free and the public is invited.

Participants will have the opportunity to view bats up close and personal at a University of Utah research facility known as the Rio Mesa Center, which is about 45 miles up the Colorado River from Moab.

The event begins when wildlife biologists unroll vertical mist nets across a wetland near dusk. After dark, bats fly over the wetland, intent on catching insects. As the bats dart back and forth, they are caught in the nets. Upon capture, the bats will are removed so that scientific measurements can be taken. This is when the public can examine the bats closely.

Participants will need to arrive at the Rio Mesa Center by about 8 p.m. to prepare for the activity. Travel time from Price is three hours. Moabites have a one and a half hour drive.

From the Dewey Bridge on the Colorado River, participants will drive another nine miles on unpaved road to reach the Rio Mesa Center.

As many as five different bat species may be observed. These include the canyon bat, pallid bat, California myotis, silver-haired bat and hoary bat. Each species may appear at different hours of the night. Participants who stay longer will have the best chance of seeing more species. Operation of the mist nets will continue until 1 a.m. although the public can leave when they choose.

Pre-registration is required by calling Brent Stettler at 435-613-3707. Additional information and instructions will be provided at the time of pre-registration.

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