Nicaragua Bat Surveys March 2024

In March 2024 I joined José Gabriel Martínez-Fonseca in southern Nicaragua for a portion of his nation-wide bat survey work. This was not a guided tour nor did we target any particular species, common or rare. He and his assistants were just doing routine netting and let me tag along.

In all instances we had wildlife permits and the local landowner’s permission.

We also used Sherman traps three nights with nil captures.

Over the past two years there have been questions about what equipment one can bring into the country, with brief periods when binoculars and cameras were equally unwelcome. There are horror stories of birding tour groups have all of their binos locked up for the duration of the trip.

In my case, my bags were x-rayed on arrival but not hand inspected. Once near the Costa Rican border my camera bag was inspected at a military checkpoint. This implies that bringing a thermal scope into the country is moderately risky but that in general, tourism is returning to normal. To avoid problems, I did not bring my largest, fanciest telephoto lens and tried to look like a harmless gringo. Some basic Spanish fluency helps, eg at passport control at the airport.

Except for a few officious fellows at checkpoints, overall the people themselves were as friendly and helpful as always.

José Gabriel has a truck he uses for his survey work (the “Yapok 1”), and it has “bats of Nicaragua” logos on the side. At document checks along the highway, police would say, “Oh, you work with bats, very good, very good. How many have you killed today?”

This reminds me that all of us can help with educational outreach, each and every day in the field.

We had two interesting bat records. Once we had a very leucistic / borderline albino Lesser doglike Bat, and near El Rama at a site reached by boat he netted three individuals that we presume are the first-ever live specimens of Rhogeessa permutandis, Nicaraguan Little Yellow Bat, which was previously only known from skeletal remains. DNA samples were taken but the results are still pending. All the details look good, though. If it is confirmed, it goes onto my list—not of all the mammals I have ever seen, but those mammals that I have seen and Jon Hall has not.

Charles Hood, California,


roadside “by-catch” (alphabetical by genus)


Alouatta palliata, Mantled Howler Monkey

Ateles geoffroyi, Central American Spider Monkey

Cebus imatator, Central American White-faced Capuchin

Coendou mexicanus, Mexican Porcupine

Didelphus marsupialis, Common Opossum

Echinosciurus variegatoides, Variegated Squirrel

Lontra longicaudis, Neotropical River Otter

Potus flavus, Kinkajou


bats, alphabetical by genus (number = nights encountered by CH, out of 7 total)


Artibeus jamaicensis, Jamaican Fruit Bat                                          3

Artibeus intermedius, Intermediate Fruit-eating Bat                          1

Artibeus lituratus, Greater Fruit-eating Bat                                       1

Carollia castanea, Chestnut Short-tailed Bat                                    1

Carollia perspicillata, Seba’s Short-tailed Bat                                  3

Carollia sowelli, Sowell’s Short-tailed Bat                                        1

Carollia subrufa, Gray Short-tailed Bat                                             2

Chiroderma villosum, Hairy Big-eyed Bat                                         1

Dermanura phaeotis, Pygmy Fruit-eating Bat                                   1

Dermanura watsoni, Thomas’s fruit-eating bat                                 5

Eptesicus furinalis, Argentine Brown Bat                                          1

Glossophaga leachii, Gray Long-tongued Bat                                   1

Glossophaga soricina, Palas’s Long-tongued Bat                             4

Myotis albescens, Silver-tipped Myotis                                             2

Myotis nigricans, Black Myotis                                                         1

Myotis riparius, Riparian Myotis                                                       2

Natalus mexicanus, Mexican funnel-eared Bat                                  1

Peropteryx macrotis, Lesser Doglike Bat                                          1

Phyllostomus discolor, Pale Spear-nosed Bat                                    1

Phyllostomus hastatus, Greater Spear-nosed Bat                               1

Pteronotus mesoamericanus, Mesoamerican Mustached Bat            1

Pteronotus personatus, Lesser Mustached Bat                                  1

Rhogeessa bickhami, Bickham’s Little Yellow Bat                           1

[ Rhogeessa permutandis, Nicaraguan Little Yellow Bat ]                1

Rhynchonycteris naso, Proboscis Bat                                                 1

Saccopteryx bilineata, Greater White-lined Bat                                3

Saccopteryx leptura, Lesser White-lined Bat                                     1

Sturnira parvidens, Northern Yellow-shouldered Bat                       3

Uroderma convexum, Mesoamerican Tent-making Bat                    2

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