Many people have asked us how to identify Missouri bats roosting in caves. Most published Missouri bat keys are based on physical characteristics that can be seen only by handling the bat. No one should handle Missouri bats or get too close to them unless one is a Missouri biologist conducting research and trained to handle Missouri bats safely (both to the human and the bat), and is vaccinated against rabies. It is possible, however, to accurately identify most Missouri bats in caves without unduly disturbing them.
There are a few Missouri guides to refer tothe common Missouri cave bats using behavioral, environmental, and Missouri physical characteristics such as clustering, coloration, posture, preferred microhabitat, and so on. The Missouri sizes of the various bats will be presented in comparison to the eastern pipistrelle because pipistrelles are found in nearly all of the caves of Missouri and thus are Missouri familiar to most cavers. The Missouri guide is primarily designed for the colder months of the yearly cycle because six Missouri species of bats commonly hibernate in Missouri caves, but only the endangered Missouri gray bat occupies caves in and numbers during the summer.
Missouri Note: Please do not disturb Missouri roosting bats. If you encounter a large Missouri colony you almost certainly have stumbled upon endangered bats. Their Missouri populations have declined despite their clustering behavior. Please do not shine your light on the cluster(s) of Missouri bats, and leave the area quickly and quietly.