WNS Blog

White-nose syndrome fungus detected in second county in Washington State

Biologist wearing vinyl gloves swabbing a Townsend’s big-eared bat to test for the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome. BCI photo.
Since March 2016, when the first case of white-nose syndrome (WNS) was confirmed in Washington State, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has collaborated with partners, including the National Park Service (NPS), to collect samples from bats and the areas where they live. This proactive surveillance work helps researchers and wildlife managers detect the presence of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome (Pseudogymnoascus destructans), and track the spread of this catastrophic bat disease. Fungus detected at Mount Rainier National Park In May 2017, NPS researchers...

The ABCs of WNS

White-nose syndrome spread map
During Bat Week 2017, bat lovers around the world participated in the first organized "Twitter storm" for bats, where as many people as possible tweeted bat messages with the hashtag (#) BatWeek between 11 AM and 12 PM Eastern time on October 30.  Almost 2,500 people and organizations tweeted 4,500 tweets with #BatWeek, which was the 39th US trending topic during that time. The messages reached 11.6 million people, with potential social media impressions of 32.3 million. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife White Nose Bats Twitter account, @USFWS_WNS, participated in the Twitter storm, using #...

When Rock Climbing and Science Meet

A bat at Devil’s Tower. Photo: Philip Knecht
How climbers are helping biologists track bat behavior—and why this matters   Climbers—particularly the masochistically-inclined crack climbing addicts who tend to congregate in areas like Vedauwoo or Devil’s Tower—could provide valuable data about the cliff and crack-dwelling bats in the West. Read more

The Hawaiian Hoary Bat: Five Amazing Facts

Hawaiian Hoary Bat
As we near end of October and leading up to the spookiest time of the year, join us in celebrating National Bat Week, October 24-31. Bats are enigmatic, cryptic and contribute in fascinating ways to the overall health of an ecosystem. While not the easiest to see, you can find bats in nearly every environment in the United States. Bats are an evolutionary wonder as this land mammal takes flight and leaves its land bound mammal cousins on the ground. With over 1,300 species, bats come in a variety of shapes and sizes. However, Hawaii has the distinction of being home to one of only...

Tagging bats to help save BC bat colonies

Tagging bats to help save BC bat colonies
See how biologists tag tiny bats as part of a new bat monitoring program at Deas Island Regional Park. One of the goals is to find out if White Nose Syndrome has affected colonies in BC. It's hoped that much can be learned from these important and vulnerable species to spare them from this deadly fungus.   Watch the video.  

Idaho Governor Butch Otter Proclaims National Bat Week

Rita Dixon, IDFG, holds the proclamation signed by Gov. Butch Otter
Don’t expect a spotlight in the sky over Gotham City, but do expect furry, flying critters to get their due respect Oct. 24-31 as it’s proclaimed National Bat Week in Idaho by proclamation of Gov. Butch Otter. “Bats provide important biological services that contribute substantially to the economy of the United States by protecting American forests and agriculture from destructive insects and by providing the fundamental benefit of pollination,” the proclamation reads.   Read the news release    

Hawai'i's only native land mammal? A bat!

Just hanging out, taking a break from eating yummy insects! Photo by: Jack Jeffrey
Lasiurus cinereus semotus Common Names: Hawaiian hoary bat, Ope‘ape‘a Listing Status: Endangered Where Listed: Wherever Found The Hawaiian hoary bat or as it is known locally, Ope‘ape‘a, is Hawai‘i’s only native land mammal. While ‘hoary’ refers to the frosted appearance of its fur, the name Ope‘ape‘a means ‘half-leaf’ in Hawaiian and refers to the bat’s wing shape in flight. Found on all the main Hawaiian Islands, it has evolved to be about 30-40% smaller than its mainland cousin, the North American hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus). You won’t find this insect eater in large colonies...

Stories from the Field

Back in 2014, I worked for the U.S. Forest Service (FS) with Nadja (Na-dee-uh) Schmidt, a seasonal wildlife lead for the Deschutes National Forest Sisters Ranger District.  Nadja invited me to come out and mist net bats with her recently and I was super excited because I'm a long time bat fan, but a first time mist netter. My role in the situation was limited by the fact that I don't have a rabies vaccination, so I helped with decontamination procedures and data collection. Bats are soooo cool and I owe a lot of my bat love to Nadja; she’s a great mentor! I find the shape of...

How Many Bats are in That House?

Bat houses at Kootenai National Wildlife
It is easy to miss the bat houses when you drive into the maintenance yard at Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge. Four small structures, mounted on the side of one of the buildings, don’t look like much. But in summer, those boxes are home to a LOT of bats. The refuge installed the houses in 2010 hoping to relocate a colony of bats that roosted in an old building – a building slated to be torn down. It worked, and the bats moved into their new digs. Refuge staff could tell the bats were living there by the growing pile of guano accumulating under the structures each summer and when staff...

Delaware Bat Spotters Program

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) invited Holly Niederriter, Wildlife Biologist for Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control, and Katelyn Rembecki, Research Assistant, to talk about Delaware bats on October 12, 2017.
For its last “Evening at the Hook” lecture for 2017, Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) invited Holly Niederriter, Wildlife Biologist for Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control, and Katelyn Rembecki, Research Assistant, to talk about Delaware bats on October 12, 2017. In addition to dispelling some myths about bats, Ms. Niederriter described the biology and status of bats and their ecological role in controlling insect pests. Population abundance of all bat species in Delaware has decreased significantly over the years, though the big brown bat (a cave species that...