Hawaiian hoary bats on Big Island

I just spent a few hours on Big Island of Hawaii to see lava fountains produced by erupting Kilauea Volcano. While sneaking through the forest at midnight to avoid numerous police patrols and helicopters, I found an excellent place to see the local version of the hoary bat (it is more closely related to North American ones than to those on other Hawaiian Islands): a muddy powerline road that intersects Hwy 130 at 19.469771N 154.941144W. At least a dozen bats were flying along that road from about 300 m east of the intersection, and were well visible in bright red glow from the lava fountains 3 km further east. (If you’d like to see the lava fountains without getting mugged by the police, email me for instructions. Believe me, it’s worth the trouble.)
Feral goats are now much more numerous than 20 years ago when I first visited the island; huge herds graze along the upgraded Saddle Road and elsewhere.


  • Timo Mitzen


    I am on Maui at the moment and about to head to the Big Island in two days and was hoping to see some lava (and bats), would you be able to help me out with any info about the lava viewing that you encountered….it is very high on my agenda and want to do it independently if at all possible.

    Thanks for your sightings and any help you can lend!

    Timo Mitzen

  • Vladimir Dinets

    I emailed you the directions.

  • Vladimir Dinets

    Sorry, the eruption is over, there is no visible lava anywhere in Hawaii. I have no idea when and where it will happen next time, but if there’s another stable lava fountain I’ll certainly take my family there and post a report on my Facebook page. My daughter is 4+ years old so it’s time to start teaching her the basics of law enforcement evasion. Meanwhile, USGS HVO is the place to check for updates: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/

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