Five years ago this winter, a caver in New York photographed bats with a white fungus on their faces -- and found a few dead bats. Since then, more than one million bats have died in at least 12 states, including Connecticut, from a condition now known as “white nose” syndrome. Connecticut’s environmental agency is asking the public to keep an eye out for odd behavior in bats.
Scientists don’t understand the exact cause of these deaths or how to prevent further mortality. They believe an invasive fungus, that may have originated in Europe is what’s killing the animals. The fungus causes the bats’ wing tissue to deteriorate. Affected animals stop hibernating and burn up their fat reserves looking for food. State wildlife biologist Jenny Dickson is asking the public to call the Department of Environmental Protection if they see bats behaving oddly.
“Sometimes the bats will appear to be trying to eat snow off the ground. Sometimes the bats will be clinging to the outside of building, like a house or a garage. So they’re suffering from a number of metabolic changes that are producing some unusual behavior.”
Dickson says so many bats are dying Connecticut’s most common species could go extinct.
To report unusul bat behavior, call the D.E.P. at 860 675 813.