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The Bats of Mesa Verde National Park

Tuesday • April 8, 2014

 

Well...it's officially offseason in Telluride.  That means its time to take day trips and discover all that Southwest Colorado has to offer.  Mesa Verde National Park is a great place to spend the day and offers more than just sightseeing ancient cliff dwellings.  Learn more about Mesa Verde by reading this guest blog provided by our friends at Mild to Wild Rafting and Jeep Trail Tours.  

 

The Bats of Mesa Verde National Park

by Mild to Wild Rafting & Jeep Trail Tours

Usually when people think of Mesa Verde, they think of ancient pueblo architecture, including Cliff Palace, Spruce Tree House and Balcony House. However, what many people don’t realize is that Mesa Verde an incredible habit for amazing Southwestern Colorado wildlife, including several different species of bats native to the western United States. And embarking on an in-depth tour of Mesa Verde National Park is the perfect way to learn more about these majestic creatures.

Mesa Verde National Park includes a large, south-ward-sloping ridge in Southwestern Colorado that makes up most of the roosting habitat for the bats that live in the park. Most recently it has been discovered that a total of 16 species of bats occur at Mesa Verde and this includes every species of bat known west of the Great Plains in Colorado except for the little brown bat. The most recent fauna documented in 2006 and 2007 added captures of the first canyon bat in Mesa Verde since 1963, and the first Brazilian free-tailed bats since 1963. These findings are noteworthy because it shows that although the climate at Mesa Verde has recently undergone changes from drought and wildfire, the park still offers enough resources that more and more species of bats are coming to the area to roost and reproduce.

Most of the bats in this area rely on crevices in rocks and cliffs for roosts rather than the piñon juniper woodlands that encompass the park. This suggest that a warming or arid climate would not greatly impact various bats habitats and provides optimism that these bat populations will remain stay stable for the time being, allowing tourists from all over the world the chance to experience these very unique animals through Mesa Verde National Park.