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Field Equipment


Tim Carter
Ball State University
Dept of Biology

Dept of Biology

Field Equipment Construction
Other How-To Documents
Department of Biology - Ball State University


How-To Documents

Here are a few how-to documents for building equipment to make radio telemetry with wildlife (particularly bats) a little easier in the field.  These methods may not be the absolute best, but they were designed with a shoe-string budget in mind!!  Most have been refined over the past few years and at this point work well. Please note that most of these documents were written pre-WNS.  Obvious adjustments or changes maybe needed to comply with current decon protocols.

highnet system
  • This is one method for building a high net system that has become very popular if not a necessity in catching bats in eastern forests.  This system has been used for years to survey for and catch Indiana Bats (Myotis sodalis). 

How to build a high net system for trapping bats

  • This is a method of building a cheap antenna tower (30ft tall) that uses the same poles from the high net system above.  I have seen reception range improvements equating to a 50% increase when using this tower. Altitude is everything in telemetry!  This was published in Bat Research News (2005) so e-mail me for a reprint (PDF).

How to build a an inexpensive, mobile antenna tower for radio telemetry –
e-mail for reprint

  • This is a method for mounting an antenna to be used in a moving vehicle when trying to locate collared animals.  As you know driving around holding an antenna out the window is not only exhausting, but impractical.  This inexpensive system allows for hours of searching either by you, or with the aid of another person. 

How to build a simple car mounted telemetry-antenna system

  • transmitterThis is a step by step instructions for how do conduct telemetry to determine home ranges for bats.  My graduate students and I have used this method for over a decade and it works pretty well!

Home range telemetry guide

  • This is step by step instructions for gluing transmitters on small bats.  This is the current process that I use and has been refined over the last 10 years or so.

How to glue a radio transmitter on a small bat

  • This article compares the historic and currently available adhesives (glues) for attaching radio-transmitters to small bats.  This was published in Bat Research News (2009) Vol: 50 No:4.

Comparison of Adhesives for Attaching Radio Transmitters

Field Identification Sheets for Eastern Bats

These are some highly requested “cheat sheets” that I give to my technicians and students to help them hone their identification skills.  It is also helpful for those mystery bats that your just not 100% sure on!!  The information in these tables is a combination of data from the literature and personal data collected over the past 8-10 years.

  • This 3 page document is designed to help non-biologists to identify bats.  I do not recommend that the general public handle any bats at anytime.

Public Guide to Eastern Bat Identification

  • This is the full 6 page document that has all the major eastern bats on it.

Complete Eastern Bat Identification Table

  • This is a shortened version that only has the information needed for summer identification.

Eastern Bat ID Table - Short Version for Summer

  • This only has the eastern bats that hibernate in caves and is useful for winter hibernacula surveys.

Eastern Cave Bat ID Table – for Winter Surveys