Friday, 8 April 2011

Bat disease spreading

Bat in our Bala carport - they'd visit every night

For anyone who follows bats, that means anyone in cottage country who knows that bats eat a ton of insects at night, this is very sad. I have written about it before.

Apr 10, 2010
Bats are a big deal in Muskoka. That proverbial cycle of life: bats eat night-flying bugs (800000 gm /summer),  a Muskoka scourge, and bring important nutrients to be accessed to similar cave dwellers, newts, endangered cave dwellers.
The fact that this disease has moved north is scary. They were first discovered in Canada in March, 2010. Now there is another report.

Area bats have white-nose syndrome

Disease isn’t considered dangerous to humans

By DAVE DALE The Nugget

Same bat? Same carport, old house!
Posted 15 hours ago
A disease that's already killed a million bats in eastern North America has been found in a colony hibernating near Mattawa.
White nose syndrome, which isn't considered dangerous to humans, was found on five sample bats taken from the Purdy Mine Site in Mattawan Township, says the North Bay District Office of Ministry of Natural Resources.

The disease is a fungus that grows and is white on their nose. It causes them to wake from hibernation early and they can be seen in the daytime, and starve since the insects are dormant.

400,000 dead bats in the US

The fungus gives them the appearance of a white nose, and wakes them early from hibernation. Of course, the bats cannot find the moths, fireflies, mosquitoes upon which they depend. They become dehydrated, underweight, fly about in daytime, trying to drink the snow, in extremely cold temperatures. It is very sad to watch. This video is very telling:

White-Nose Syndrome in Bats
5 min - 17 Mar 2008  US Fish & Wildlife Service

While the MNR discourages civilians from handling live, dead or sick bats, the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre and Natural Resources Information Centre is collecting data on locations where bats hibernate and reports of the disease.


Olga said...

I'm willing to do my part by not handling bats. However, this is a pretty serious problem and I do hope that a solution will be found.

Powell River Books said...

We have bats living in our roof every summer. The small brown bats arrive usually by May and stay through September. I don't mind sharing my abode most of the time since they stay above the tar paper, but when the scratch in the wall next to my bed it drives me crazy. Fortunately for the last too years they have taken over the front roof area, but I can still hear them come home (early) at dawn. - Margy

Mark said...

Our little brown bats do not seem to have come back after years abd years and last week there were tons of mosquitoes and no bats. I'm wondering if they have fallen to this WNS.
near Rosseau