An example of ecological traps for bats in the urban environment

  • Anton Vlaschenko
  • Viktor KovalovEmail author
  • Vitalii Hukov
  • Kseniia Kravchenko
  • Olena Rodenko
Short Communication


Urban environments have semi-natural features that attract some groups of wild animals such as bats, which belong to one of the most diverse groups of mammals remaining in cities. There are limited numbers of examples of ecological traps for bats in urban environments. We describe a case of high bat mortality in one concrete building (Kharkiv city, 50° 0′ N, 36° 15′ E Ukraine) where we found 157 carcasses of Nyctalus noctula killed by cats over the winter 2014–2015. We suppose that cats killed mainly healthy individuals with a higher ratio of females than in the total sample size. We are describing this case of bat mortality as an ecological trap. Moreover, we presume that the real number of bats killed by free-ranging cats could be higher, up to several hundreds per winter. In addition, it is a specific way for disease transfer that could affect public health. European bats are under special protection and in such cases, conservationist and animal welfare activists attempt to protect bat hibernation aggregations from any negative impacts.


Ecological trap Chiroptera Urban ecology Nyctalus noctula Cat predation 



Authors would like to thank colleagues Dr. Alyona Prylutska, Oleg Prylutski, Volodymyr Shuvaev, and Kateryna Shuvaeva for their help in bat collection. Beside this, authors are grateful to Tony Mitchell-Jones for his language editing and helpful comments. This study was conducted as a part of work of Bat Rehabilitation Center of Feldman Ecopark which is supported by the International Charitable Foundation “Oleksandr Feldman Foundation” and partly by the EUROBATS Project Initiative “Kharkiv Bat Education Program, 2013–2014”

Compliance with ethical standards

All methods were ethical and respectful of animal welfare and the conservation of protected species, according to international standards (Sikes and Gannon 2011) and Ukrainian National Law.

Supplementary material

10344_2019_1252_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (123 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 123 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bat Rehabilitation Center of Feldman EcoparkLisneUkraine
  2. 2.Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife ResearchBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Department of Biology and Environmental ProtectionUniversity of Silesia in KatowiceKatowicePoland

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