Avoiding a conservation pitfall: Considering the risks of unsuitably hot bat boxes

Reed D. Crawford, Joy M. O'Keefe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bat boxes are commonly deployed to mitigate the loss of bat roosting habitat. Due to a dearth of microclimate research, numerous untested commercially available bat boxes, and the uncertain impacts of a rapidly changing climate, the overheating risk presented to bats by bat boxes is largely unquantified. Based on limited research, we know many boxes overheat (i.e., temperatures >40°C). A lack of standardized protocols to evaluate microclimate and misleading information available to the public leads to a murky understanding of risks involved with deploying bat boxes. Herein, we evaluate the thermal tolerance of temperate-zone bats, delineate areas of concern regarding the risks to temperate-zone bats when bat boxes are deployed, identify strategies for reducing overheating risk, suggest methods for assessing microclimate, and provide a visual framework to assess overheating risk. Identifying suitable design and placement combinations is crucial to developing region-specific strategies to mitigate against overheating. We urge consideration of the risks involved with using bat boxes, advocate for rigorous testing before deployment, and suggest using alternatives when possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere412
JournalConservation Science and Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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