Posts Tagged ‘bats’

by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.
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Bat Facts for Bat Lovers

January 22nd, 2013

I recevied the following email through a bat listserve:  

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Dear Friend of Bats,
Happy New Year!  

Bats are fascinating creatures, and now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a way for educators, conservationists and all who appreciate bats to learn about the endangered Indiana bat and other species.  The Service has launched the Indiana Bat Calendar, an electronic calendar featuring 365 bat facts.  The Calendar is found on the Service’s Region 3 website.  Subscribers can sign up to automatically receive the daily bat fact, and the widget on the website is available for posting by other agencies and organizations.  Bat facts cover life history and conservation efforts for the Indiana bat and for other bat species.  The project is an effort to raise awareness of Indiana bats, bat conservation in general and critical issues such as white-nose syndrome.  

Please sign up for the Indiana Bat Calendar – A Fact a Day for 2013.  Encourage others to sign up as well.

To sign up for the calendar, go to http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/

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The link below will take you directly to the page where you can sign up for your daily “BAT FACT”

http://www.fws.gov/midwest/widget/BatWidget/

Join the conversation:

  1. Director Comment :

    Hi ALL-
    NOT SURE WHY THE WEBSITES ARE NOT WORKING FOR FWS BUT I’LL WORK ON IT AND GET BACK IN TOUCH.

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  2. links are working again!

    Posted by sherry

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.

Meet A Biologist: Christina Kocer

August 15th, 2012
Christina Kocer

Photo Credit: CT DEEP

Meet Christina Kocer, the White-Nose Syndrome National Assistant Coordinator (and Northeast Regional Coordinator) for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Christina works with BATS! Specifically, she works with people, bats, and a newly discovered disease called White-Nose Syndrome (WNS). I asked her a few questions about her job; her answers are in blue text.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is it that you do?

As a WNS coordinator, I work closely with state, federal, and academic institutions, as well as non-governmental partners involved with WNS research and response, specifically those within the 13 states that make up the northeast region. I coordinate research, assist in the development of protocols, management plans, as well as research priorities, procedures, and policies. I review research proposals and coordinate contracting and grant funding processes and paperwork. I often facilitate conference calls with state agency and other agency biologists to discuss regional concerns, needs, and issues. I also respond to researcher and public inquiries about bats and WNS investigations. I assist agency biologists with WNS surveillance and monitoring in the field, including conducting hibernacula and maternity roost surveys.

inspecting a wing

Photo credit: MDC/Bruce Schuette Tri-Colored Bat with WNS (white fluffy stuff on its nose)

 

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

WNS is a newly emergent disease of hibernating bats that has resulted in an unprecidented population declines within a very short amount of time. It is an extremely challenging, frustrating, and fascinating problem that quickly brought together a wide range of state and federal agency biologists, university researchers,and non-governmental organizations from around the world to address this wildlife crisis. The diversity of expertise needed, from mycologists [scientists who study fungus] to physiologists and wildlife biologists to cavers, has been incredible. It is exciting to be a part of this response that is constantly changing and evolving with new research findings. Great progress has been made in understanding this complicated disease in very such a short amount of time.

 

Little Brown Bat

Photo Credit: CT DEEP Little Brown Bat with wing ID band

Why study bats?

Bats are typically misunderstood and tend to envoke fear in the public however, these fears are often unfounded. Bats are very beneficial creatures that need to be protected, and not feared. They are the primary predator of night-flying insects, including many agricultural pests. WNS has decimated populations of these animals and they need our protection. One of the few positive things that has come out of WNS is a new and renewed interest in bats by the public as a result of expanded education and outreach about these animals and WNS.

 

 

Christina Kocer

Photo Credit: USFWS Christina measuring bat wing

Bat Facts:

  • An estimated 5.7-6.7 MILLION bats have died as a result of White-Nose Syndrome. Mortality rates vary by site and species, but have approached 100% in some areas for some species.
  • WNS has been confirmed in 19 states (including North Carolina) and 4 Canadian Provinces. The fungus that causes WNS, Geomyces destructans, has been detected in 2 additional states.

Questions for Christina? Ask in the comments section and I’ll pass them along to her.

Want to learn more about White-Nose Syndrome? Check out the WNS website at http://www.WhiteNoseSyndrome.org 

Join the conversation:

  1. Thank you for posting this….I can’t imagine not seeing neighborhood bats at twilight and dawn because of WNS.

    Posted by dj
  2. Keeper Comment :

    You’re welcome! If you have any questions (even if they’re silly), just ask. There are a lot of neighborhoods that no longer have bats due to WNS, and that means more mosquitoes and moths for us people to deal with!

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg
  3. just before midnight Dec 31,2013 I had an unexpected visitor in the form of a bat in my bed room. I was very surprised thinking that bats hibernated all winter.We usually get at least one bat in the house every year but never in winter. Should I be concerned or will It find its way out? We generally leave the doors open until we see them leave but it is way too cold now in Allegheny County, Western Pa. Never fear, I will not touch it!

    Posted by Alice Lucas
  4. reentered email address

    Posted by Alice Lucas
  5. Director Comment :

    Good for you to be cautious around these amazing creatures. Bats, and any animals, may very well need assistance finding their way back out of tricky situations. Bats do hibernate, but some are awoken. This typically does not bode well for the individual that wakes too soon.

    Posted by Sherry Samuels

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by , Keeper
I'm extremely excited to be working at the Museum since October 2010. My favorite part of this job- besides working with the animals- is listening to all of the Keeper stories, I hear a new one each day. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, belly dancing, and vegan cooking.
I work Sunday through Thursday. I can be found mostly behind the scenes or training the Ring Tail Lemurs.

Bats: Scary or Neccessary?

October 26th, 2011

Why are bats so scary?

 

 

 

 

 

The answer is that they are highly misunderstood.

The 5 biggest myths about bats:

1- they are flying rodents

2- they are blind

3- they get tangled in your hair

4- they suck blood and feed on humans

5- they are dirty and have diseases

Myths debunked–>

1- Bats are mammals but they are not rodents and based on evolutionary history they are most closely related to primates

2- Bats have  good eyesight. So the saying “blind as a bat” is false.

3- Because bats use echolocation it’s a complete myth that they can get tangled in your hair, they are able to dodge wires as fine as human hairs.

4- Out of the over 1,000 species of bats worldwide there are only 3 that feed on blood and never human blood. One species feeds on the blood of livestock while the other two feed on the blood of birds.  And they don’t suck the blood they first bite the animal while it is asleep and then lick the blood.

5- Bats actually spend a lot of time cleaning and grooming themselves and others in their colony. Bats can carry rabies- but so can other mammals. Just be careful- if you see a bat on the ground, don’t pick it up.  Always wear gloves if you handle bats or call an expert to help.

I’m hoping I don’t need to mention that bats do not turn into vampires.

I think the most important thing you should know about bats is how crucial they are to their local ecosystems.

Bats control insect populations- including the dreaded mosquito, some bats can eat over 1,000 insects a night.

A third of all bats feed on the nectar or the fruit of plants thus helping to reseed cut forests and pollinate plants.

Bats taught us about sonar.

Bacteria in their guano is a great fertilizer and is useful in improving soaps, making gasohol and producing antibiotics.

There is an enzyme in the vampire bats saliva which is a potent blood-clot dissolver and is used to treat stroke victims.

A bat drinking nectar

A bat eating fruit

A bat eating an insect

A bat licking blood from a birds foot

 

For a lot more information on bats and great education resources visit www.batcon.org.
Bat Conservation International helps protect bats through education, conservation, and research.

 

 

So yes- in large numbers some may view the bat as scary but their importance far exceeds the myths that still exist today.

Plus bats can be cute…

Honduran White Bats

 

And don’t forget how helpful they can be to humans

Scientists measuring bat guano. utexas.edu

Join the conversation:

  1. Great blog Kimberly. I’ve always liked bats. We have some nearby as I see them out in the evening flying around our cul-de-sac. I like to watch them since they are so amazing at flying:)

    Posted by Ashlyn
  2. Thanks Ashlyn- they are fascinating animals!

    Posted by Kimberly

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