One problem with a lot of books about animals, even when limited to mammals, is that they often don’t spend much time with bats. Even though bats are a major portion of most ecosystems, they are left out just because they only come out at night and aren’t seen so much. Plus, the visibility of a lot of nature is based on photography and few nature (or even wildlife specialists) photographers photograph bats. Here are books that I have found invaluable in helping me learn about bats:
Bats – A Natural History, John E. Hill and James D. Smith, 1984. A scientific overview of bats written from a natural history perspective. Very complete, though not up-to-date on bat science because of date of publication.
Bats – A World of Mystery and Science, M. Brock Fenton and Nancy B. Simmons, 2014. This is a beautiful book with lots of photos and a very nice design. It covers bats very completely, yet it stays readable and fun to go through.
Bats – Biology and Behavior, John D. Altringham, 1996. A scientific overview of bats from a top British scientist. Well-written and very readable for a scientific book.
Bats of America, Roger W. Barbour and Wayne H. Davis, 1979. Long out of print, this is a classic reference to bats that scientists still refer to. Each bat species gets pages of information, including some remarkable natural history observations. Well worth looking for as a used book, such as from AbeBooks.com.
Bats of the Rocky Mountain West, Rick Adams, 2003. A comprehensive book about the bats of the West, including species natural history, ecology and conservation.
Bats of the United States and Canada, Michael J. Harvey and J. Scott Altenbach, 2011. If you are looking for a solid reference to all of the bats in the U.S., this is the book to find. It has detailed descriptions of each bat, plus some early general chapters on many things about bats, from bat houses to World War II and bats.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bats, Rose Houk, 2011. Though made for “kids”, this book is much more than a kids book. It is filled with great information about bats in a very easy to read format. This is published by the Western National Parks Association and is available from national park visitor center bookstores.
Kaufman Field Guide to Mammals of North America, Kenn Kaufman and Rick Bowers, 2007. Among general field guides, this one gives a short but excellent and complete introduction to the bat species of North America.
The Secret Lives of Bats, Merlin Tuttle, 2015. Merlin Tuttle is one of the best known bat researchers who founded Bat Conservation International and has had a huge impact on bat conservation. He is also truly a great storyteller who recounts some remarkable adventures in this autobiography. A great read.
Stoke’s Beginner’s Guide to Bats, Kim Williams and Rob Mies, 2002. This is a terrific introduction to bats and most of the bat species in the U.S. Each species account has the information broken into easily read and understood bits.
Zoobooks Bats, Linda C. Wood and Deane Rink, 2004. Another “kids book” that is offers superb information about bats for anyone. Great illustrations and format for learning.
Nature’s Jobs, Rob Sheppard, 2015. I produced this children’s nature ebook, comparing nature’s jobs to our jobs. Bats are included as a chapter about night flyers.