Remove livestock modifications from water troughs
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Livestock water troughs can provide water sources for bats, particularly in arid areas. Modifications to water troughs that prevent livestock from damaging or entering them, such as wires and braces across the water surface, may injure bats or prevent them from drinking. For interventions that create water sources on farmland and other habitats, see ‘Habitat restoration and creation – Create artificial water sources’.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, paired sites study in 2004 of four pairs of water troughs in northern Arizona, USA (Tuttle et al. 2006) found that removing livestock modifications from water troughs resulted in bats drinking from them more frequently. More bats reached the water surface at unmodified troughs than modified troughs during both single approaches (unmodified: 71% of bats; modified: 25%) and multiple approaches (unmodified: 97%; modified: 61%). Bats also approached unmodified troughs fewer times before successfully drinking than at modified troughs (unmodified: average 0.3 times; modified: 1.8 times). Three experiments were carried out at a pair of rectangular troughs (surface area 7.5 m2) and one experiment at a pair of circular troughs (surface area 4.7 m2). One trough in each pair had modifications installed with either a 3-strand barbed wire fence across the centre or boards at 100 cm intervals, the other was left unmodified. Troughs were filmed simultaneously for 1–5 nights in May–August 2004. Modifications were then switched to the unmodified trough and filming was repeated.Study and other actions tested