White-nose syndrome still devastating bats and challenging scientists

A healthy Virginia big-eared bat in WV Credit: Jeff Hajenga, WVDNR In an effort to conserve and research the endangered Virginia big-eared bat, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo took in 40 bats in November 2009. The goal was to establish a security population and to scientifically develop husbandry practices in a subspecies that researchers have not attempted to conserve before.  According to a press release, “The possible extinction of...

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Egyptian fruit bats point sonar beams on either side of a target, not directly at it

According to researchers at the University of Maryland, Egyptian fruit bats, unlike their American relative the big brown bat, locate objects through a series of tongue clicks directed to either side of their target. Big brown bats locate their fast moving prey—such as mosquitos—by firing sounds from their vocal cords directly at their target. Egyptian bats, on the other hand, fire their sonar beams to either side of the target and...

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White-nose syndrome forces cave closings

White-nose syndrome, a mysterious disease that has been killing hundreds of thousands of North American bats since its discovery in 2007, has now forced the U.S. Forest Service to close caves in national forests across the country in an attempt to rein in transmission of the disease. The disease is caused by a cold-loving fungus that infects bats’ faces and wings during the winter months, disrupting their hibernation patterns...

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