Bat selfies: photographic surveys of flying bats

Jens Rydell, Danilo Russo, Price Sewell, Ernest C.J. Seamark, Charles M. Francis, Sherri L. Fenton, M. Brock Fenton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The recent pandemic and other environmental concerns have resulted in restrictions on research and surveys involving capture and handling bats. While acoustic surveys have been widely used as an alternative survey method, in this study, we show how photographic surveys can offer an important contribution to study and survey bats. We outline approaches, using high speed flash and automated trip beams to obtain photos of flying bats of sufficient quality for reliable identification of species. We show, through a series of examples of setups and photographs, that photography is effective for surveying bats at a variety of sites, where bats roost, drink, and forage. We note, however, that photographic surveys cannot replace capture in all situations. In addition, although photographing bats is less invasive than capturing them, it can involve disturbance, so we stress the importance of minimizing the impact of such operations on bats.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMammalian Biology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology


  • Bat identification
  • Conservation
  • High-speed photography
  • Monitoring
  • Species recognition


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