Fungus Killing Bats in Nine States and Spreading

I’ve always thought bats were really neat animals.  I like sitting out on the porch at dusk on a summer evening and watching them flit about, diving for insects.  And I love the children’s book, The Bat Poet (1964), by former Women’s College (now UNCG) professor and poet Randall Jarrell, about the curious little bat who decided to remain awake during the day and become a poet.     

But, if you’re like me and love bats, here’s an alarming story about a mysterious fungus known as “white nose syndrome” (so-called for the white fungus which appears on the noses of affected animals) that has so far killed between 500,000 and 1,000,000 bats in the United States.  Discovered a few years ago in New York, the disease is now found in nine states in the Northeast and is spreading towards the Midwest and Southeast.

Perhaps the gravest concern owes to the important role that bats play in our ecosystem.  Those little bats we see flitting about at dusk munching on insects are vital to our agriculture and pest control.

I had actually learned about the bat fungus a week or two ago when I heard that over 800 mines and caves on U.S. Forest lands in thirteen states were being closed by the federal government on the possibility that humans may be helping to spread the deadly fungus.   This order includes North Carolina.  But scientists are still not sure just what is killing our bats.

Most of the library’s holdings on bats are juveniles, but I did find a few adult non-fiction titles including Bats by M. Brock Fenton (1992); Bats of America by Roger W. Barbour and Wayne H. Davis (1969); The Lives of Bats by D. W. Yalden and P. A. Morris (1975); and The World of the Bat by Charles E. Mohr (1976).

You can also try Science Online for information on bats.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: