Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Bat ecology and public health surveillance for rabies in an urbanizing region of Colorado

January 1, 2011

We describe use of Fort Collins, Colorado, and nearby areas by bats in 2001–2005, and link patterns in bat ecology with concurrent public health surveillance for rabies. Our analyses are based on evaluation of summary statistics, and information-theoretic support for results of simple logistic regression. Based on captures in mist nets, the city bat fauna differed from that of the adjacent mountains, and was dominated by big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus). Species, age, and sex composition of bats submitted for rabies testing locally and along the urbanizing Front Range Corridor were similar to those of the mist-net captures and reflected the annual cycle of reproduction and activity of big brown bats. Few submissions occurred November- March, when these bats hibernated elsewhere. In summer females roosted in buildings in colonies and dominated health samples; fledging of young corresponded to a summer peak in health submissions with no increase in rabies prevalence. Roosting ecology of big brown bats in buildings was similar to that reported for natural sites, including colony size, roost-switching behavior, fidelity to roosts in a small area, and attributes important for roost selection. Attrition in roosts occurred from structural modifications of buildings to exclude colonies by citizens, but without major effects on long-term bat reproduction or survival. Bats foraged in areas set aside for nature conservation. A pattern of lower diversity in urban bat communities with dominance by big brown bats may occur widely in the USA, and is consistent with national public health records for rabies surveillance.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2011
Title Bat ecology and public health surveillance for rabies in an urbanizing region of Colorado
DOI 10.1007/s11252-011-0182-7
Authors Thomas J. O'Shea, D.J. Neubaum, M.A. Neubaum, Paul M. Cryan, Laura E. Ellison, T.R. Stanley, C. E. Rupprecht, W.J. Pape, R. A. Bowen
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Urban Ecosystems
Index ID 70035365
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse