Wisconsin Scientists Track Tiny Bat with Small Transmitter

Bat weighs less than a nickel

An eastern pipistrelle was captured and then tracked by scientists as it flew across western Wisconsin. Scientists want to better understand how habitat affects the state’s tiniest bat.
(Photo: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Scientists in Wisconsin have tracked the state’s smallest bat by using an ultra-light transmitter that beamed its movement after emerging from hibernation.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that biologists and volunteers followed a female eastern pipistrelle from a Pierce County cave in May to a roosting spot along the Mississippi River. The small bat weights less than a nickel.

Paul White is a mammal ecologist and manages the Department of Natural Resources’ bat program. He says the tracking results determined that the bat moved the most right after hibernation and didn’t travel far.

Department officials expect the results will help researchers better understand the eastern pipistrelle’s behavior and allow for increased conservation work in areas the animals frequent.

The bat is a threatened species in Wisconsin and is highly vulnerable to white-nose syndrome, a deadly bat disease.