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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Potential effects of livestock water-trough modifications on bats in northern Arizona

Published source details

Tuttle S.R., Chambers C.L. & Theimer T.C. (2006) Potential effects of livestock water-trough modifications on bats in northern Arizona. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 34, 602-608


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Remove livestock modifications from water troughs Bat Conservation

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.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)