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Little brown bats in a New York cave showing the symptoms of white-nose syndrome. Photo By NYDEC; Nancy Heaslip

Little brown bats in a New York cave showing the symptoms of white-nose syndrome. Photo By NYDEC; Nancy Heaslip



Indiana Bat Calendar


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Halloween may be over, but keep thinking about bats … and ways we can help them.  Why not participate in Citizen Science?  Even though bats are nocturnal and difficult to study, Citizen Science is hitting the bat world.  Bat Facts will highlight some projects over the next few days.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission invites volunteers to be the most creative host in their neighborhood, by hosting a bat count. They’re looking for people to count bats as they exit their roosts at dusk. If you start now, you’ll have plenty of time to plan your party because the counts focus on summer maternity roosts.
Alaska is home to five bat species, but little is known about their basic ecology in Alaska. Learning more about bat ecology in Alaska is important so we can conserve resources critical to their survival and prevent population declines. The Alaska Bat Monitoring Program invites citizens to get involved.
The Beaver Creek Reserve Citizen Science Center in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources sponsors an Acoustic Bat Monitoring project. They train and equip volunteers to conduct acoustic bat surveys in their local area.
Not just hummingbirds love hummingbird feeders! In Arizona’s Tucson Basin, lesser long-nosed bats (Leptonycteris curasoae yerbabuenae) visit feeders while hummingbirds sleep. Volunteers monitor bat use of feeders and help scientists gain a better understanding of this federally endangered species.
Bat Detective is an online citizen science project that allows website visitors to take part in wildlife conservation by listening for bat calls in recordings collected all over the world. By sorting the sounds in the recordings into insect and bat calls, bat detectives will help biologists develop new automatic identification tools.
Interested in learning more about how to detect bats in your local area and getting involved in a Citizen Science project?  Contact local wildlife conservation groups and agencies and see if anyone has a bat detecting project that you can join.
Has white-nose syndrome arrived in your state?  You can find out. Many states have information posted about WNS, the response, and what you can do to help.
States use citizen reports to help track WNS and other causes of bat mortality.  Web-based reporting is used in many states – here are examples from Vermont, Indiana, and Florida. Check online or contact your state natural resources agency to find out how to report sick bats in your state.
We can all help bats this time of year by staying out of caves and mines where bats hibernate. Honor cave closures and gated caves. Human-disturbance during hibernation is deadly for bats. During all seasons, it is important to take precautions not to spread the fungus that causes WNS.
Today is Veterans Day, an official United States holiday celebrating the service of all U.S. military veterans. Find out about Veterans Day activities in your area. Read bat facts tomorrow to found out about a project involving bats in the military.
During WWII, the military pursued a project that involved using bats to carry small incendiary bombs. A number of tests were conducted, but complications, including escaped bats setting fire to a hangar and a general’s car, ultimately led to the cancelling the project. Read more about the bat bombers.
The Air Force has been studying bat flight to develop micro aircraft. Scientists study high speed video of bats in flight. Check out this video about what bats can teach us about flight.
Bats have made their way into many military insignia, including “Seabat,” an anchor-toting bat that was the insignia of a Naval engineering station. Here is the "Seabat" and other examples of military insignia featuring bats.
At least three U.S. states have an official state bat. Texas and Oklahoma are represented by the Mexican free-tailed bat and Virginia is represented by the Virginia big-eared bat.
Considering how incredibly cool they are, bats are under-represented among sport team logos.  At least one Minor League Baseball Team, the Louisville Bats, has a bat mascot.  Several European Football Clubs have bat logos, including Valencia C.F and Levante U.D.
Next we’ll focus on life expectancy in bats.  Do you know how long most insectivorous bats in North America live?  You will if you keep reading bat facts.
The oldest known Indiana bat in the wild was a female captured 20 years after she was banded as an adult, making her at least 21 years old. The average life expectancy in the wild is much lower, with relatively few Indiana bats surviving for 10 years.
For their body size, bats live longer than any other order of mammal.  On average, the maximum recorded life span of a bat is 3.5 times greater other mammals of similar size.
Why do bats live longer than other small mammals?  Hibernation may be one key.  Hibernation reduces the risk of predation because bats tend to hibernate within caves in areas not accessible to predators.  Decreased body temperature and metabolism during hibernation may also promote longevity.
A tiny bat from Siberia set the record for the world’s oldest bat.  Brandt's bats, which weigh about 4 to 8 grams (0.14 to 0.28 ounces), have the longest life span for their body size. One bat lived at least 41 years in the wild.
The precise reasons for long life in Brandt’s and other bats are of interest to scientists who study aging.  Some research suggests that bats are resistant to cellular damage from oxidation. Bat cells survive doses of radiation with much less damage than mouse cells exposed to the same stresses. 
Only one bat has adapted to living year-round in buildings in the northern half of the United States and Canada.  If you live in this region and find a bat in your home or yard during winter, it is almost certainly a big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus). Unlike most North American cave-dwellers, big brown bats can survive body temperatures well below freezing and are therefore able to hibernate in attics and wall spaces.
Bats have existed for over 50 million years and during this period have diversified into more than 1,000 species. They have evolved an incredibly rich diversity of feeding habits that includes feeding on insects, nectar, fruit, frogs, fish, and small mammals. In the process, they provide many benefits to people that we’ll discuss in the coming days.
Tropical forests are of global ecological importance; they are a key contributor to the carbon balance and host a major part of the world’s biodiversity. Frugivorous bats (bats that eat fruit) help maintain diversity of these forests by dispersing seeds from fruits that they eat. Scientists are looking to bats to help restore tropical forests that have been destroyed.
Most bats in the U.S. eat insects, including many pest species. One researcher estimated that a colony of 150 big brown bats in the Midwest annually eats more than 1 million agricultural pests, including 600,000 cucumber beetles, 194,000 scarab beetles, 335,000 stinkbugs, and 158,000 leafhoppers.
Some bats like more exotic fare than insects!  This video features the fringe-lipped bat of Panama, a frog eater.  The long-fingered bat is the first bat species in Europe known to catch and eat fish.
Happy Thanksgiving! Some of your Thanksgiving feast may rely on bats for pollination. Over 300 species of fruit, including mangoes and bananas, depend on bats for pollination. The agave plant, used to make tequila, is also pollinated by bats. Include bats on the list of things you are thankful for today!
Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) as an endangered species. White-nose syndrome, a fungal disease, is the main threat, especially throughout the Northeast where the species has declined by up to 99 percent.
The public comment period on the proposal to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered has been extended to January 2. After the comment period closes, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will review and analyze all comments and information before making a final decision on the listing. Find out more about the listing and what you can do to help conserve bats.
Last updated: April 14, 2015