Bay Nature magazineSummer 2020


Meet the Bats of the East Bay Regional Park District

Eight bat species can be found in the East Bay Regional Park District. Here are three of the most interesting. 

Yuma myotis (Myotis yumanensis)

yuma myotis
Yuma myotis. (Photo by Daniel Neal, Wikimedia Commons)

Common in East Bay parks, these mouse-eared bats live in large colonies. They depend on ponds and lakes, such as the reservoir at Del Valle Regional Park, where they can snatch smaller insects off the water’s surface. 

Pallid bat (Antrozous pallidus)

pallid bat
Pallid bat. (Photo by Connor Long, Wikimedia Commons)

With a pig-like snout and a 15-inch wingspan, pallid bats swoop low and slow over the ground, looking for hard-shelled prey like crickets and scorpions. Highly susceptible to roost abandonment and light pollution, the pallid bat has been designated a species of special concern, and there’s a movement to list it as California’s state bat. 

Townsend’s big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii)

townsend's big-eared bat
Townsend’s big-eared bat. (Photo by Mark Watson, iNaturalist CC)

Identified by its inch-long ears, this bat is known as the whisper bat because it echolocates at low, almost undetectable frequencies to sneak up on moths and other prey. Another state species of special concern, it tends to abandon its roosts in caves, mines, or old buildings when humans intrude.

About the Author

Austin Price is a Berkeley-based writer who reports on conservation, food, and natural
history. His recent work has appeared in Sierra, Edible East Bay, Yale Environment 360, and Earth Island Journal, where he’s a contributing editor. While he was reporting on bats, his gratitude grew for all they do for us, from eating mosquitoes to pollinating Agave tequilana. He’d now call himself a bat advocate, with or without a tequila drink in hand.