Bats and White-Nose Syndrome

white-nose-syndrome

Bat with white nose syndrome

White-Nose Syndrome is a mysterious fungal disease that has been killing bats hibernating in caves in the Northeastern United States at an alarming rate.  The mortality rate is over 90% in affected colonies.  Affected bats can look like they are starting to mold, with white rings of fungus around the nose, and also on the wings and ears.  The disease is alarming, and spreading at a rapid rate.

Although White-Nose Syndrome is under study, it is thought that it kills bats by wakening them during hibernation.  A hibernating bat awakens only about every 10 – 20 days normally and naturally, during which time they drink, urinate, mate and perhaps change location.  A bat with White-Nose Syndrome awakens every three – four days.  These awakenings use a lot of energy, and a bat that is awakened too much will use all it’s body reserves, and starve to death before winter is over.

Five species are currently being affected, one of these, the Indiana Bat, was already on the endangered list.

This disease is not currently in California or Nevada, but it is having a huge effect in other states on the population of two of California’s most common species, the little brown (in particular) and the big brown. We love our bats and want them to thrive. That is why we do our utmost to care for them, and practice only safe exclusion methods.  If you have bats, consider putting up bat houses for them. (We will discuss bat houses in another blog) If they are in your house, use someone that is a bat professional and has expert knowledge of bats (read about our bat removal experts) and their habits to exclude them. Protect our ecology!