Northern long-eared bats

Fri. Apr. 29, 2016

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Northern long-eared bats

Bats are being threatened and not just by tennis rackets or pots and pans from a freaked out homeowner who catches them indoors!  The picture below was the cutest I could find.  The others really kinda freaked me out!

Northern long-eared bat

Northern long-eared bat

The Northern Long-eared bat was just placed on the threatened list.  While they are not the cutest things, they serve a great purpose by eating ½ their body weight in insects each night and work to keep our ecosystem in balance.

According to the University of Minnesota, recent studies estimate that bats deliver $6 billion in insect control services to agriculture, forest industries and the public each year! bats

The Northern Long-eared has been the most affected by a disease called White Nose syndrome which has killed more than 6 million bats.  WNS is a fungus that appears on a bat’s muzzle and other parts.  It was first discovered in New York in 2007 and has spread very quickly moving west, south and north.  Bats with WNS act strangely during cold winter months, including flying outside during the day and clustering near the entrances of caves and other hibernation areas.

Bat with white nose syndrome

Bat with white nose syndrome

Scientists are still trying to figure out exactly what’s going on and how they might control it.  The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned in 2010 to have this bat placed on the endangered list.

Bat wing wtih white nose fungus

Bat wing wtih white nose fungus

In the meantime, the northern long-eared has been dying out in our forested hillsides and ridgelines where it likes to live.  What can we do?  Build a bat house.  More interesting bat facts and a how-to on building a bat house from the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service.

After all that I had to give you a CUTE bat eating a grape!  Enjoy!

 

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