University of Florida Bat Barn

University of Florida Bat House to Stream Video Online

To coincide with the 2011-12 being the “International Year of the Bat”, the University of Florida has been working at outfitting its new bat house with cameras to stream video online.

The goal of the project is to help the public get a better understanding of bats and their benefits as pollinators and insect controllers.

The Florida Museum of Natural History, which is located on the campus is considering installing a monitor in its cave exhibit to show video from the cameras.

The original bat house was built in 1991 as an alternative for bats roosting in the athletic facilities nearby. In August 2009 it collapsed, likely due to the weight of the bats and their guano. Upon its demise, it was the largest bat house in the world with an estimated 200,000 or more bats calling it home.

The new structure can hold up to 250,000 bats, while the neighbouring barn can hold another 400,000. Two years after the collapse and subsequent rebuild of the bat house, only about 150,000 bats are estimated to be residing inside. Estimates are based on observations and the amount of guano.

Three species occupy the house, southeastern free-tail bats, evening bats and southeastern myotis, with the southeastern free-tail bats being the majority.

Campus ‘bat show’ will soon be available online [Gainesville.com]

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