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Health and Safety Guidance for Sunset & Sunrise Surveys

We ask that you review the simple health and safety checklist below before going out to do a sunset or sunrise survey to look for bats.  Please think about the hazards and risk level which may be present for your survey along your planned route. Our aim is to help you improve your own personal safety while carrying out surveys of bats in the field.

If leaving your household to carry out the survey you should only go to locations which are:

  • Close to home or your vehicle (short walking distance)
  • Familiar to you and safe to walk after dusk or before dawn, with safe footpaths along the entire route
  • Public open spaces (or if private land then you have permission to be there)
  • Do not enter abandoned buildings, walk on talus, walk under dead trees, or stand on or near bridges in locations where you may be hit by vehicles.  

Please complete this checklist before carrying out the survey

  • Select familiar route/locations within short walk of home or your vehicle
  • Do not survey alone – enlist friends/family to accompany you on the surveys
  • Consider any health/mobility issues that you or your helpers have and ensure the length/nature of the route is appropriate.
  • If visiting private land, contact landowners and get permission before carrying out your survey.
  • Plan the route beforehand and walk the route in daylight in advance – stick to trails.
  • Identify hazards to be avoided on your survey, such as trip hazards, sudden drops, trouble spots (danger from other people), presence of animals etc.
  • Check you have all of the necessary clothing and equipment:
    • Headlamp with spare batteries
    • Mobile phone (fully charged)
    • Reflector jacket if you will be walking on roads with traffic 
    • Personal alarm if needed 
    • Rain gear/extra layers in case of unexpected cold/wet weather
    • Appropriate footwear
  • Check any rules that might apply to you if you are doing the survey in public spaces.  For example, some public open spaces are closed after dark, and aren’t suitable for surveys.  
  • If you plan to survey for bats in the backcountry (e.g. in talus), review the more extensive backcountry safety list prior to going on your trip.  

Because bats can be affected by health problems, including rabies, you should never directly handle bats.  

If you find an injured, displaced or sick bat, do not attempt to handle or rehabilitate the bat on your own.  Instead, contact the Colorado BatCREW toll free at 866-909-2287.  Leave them a message with your name and contact number and tell them about your bat situation.  Their on-call coordinator will return your call and coordinate with one of their licensed experts to get the help required. 

If you find a dead or sick bat, please report the sighting to Colorado Parks and Wildlife as quickly as possible by calling 303-291-7771 or emailing 

Visit our FAQs page to learn more about what to do if you find a displaced, injured, sick, or dead bat.