Close up (click on image to enlarge)
Bats with large fangs and evil eyes are often pictured during Halloween, but these winged mammals have gotten a bad rap over the years as they turn up in unfavorable locations, such as house attics and barns but they are not all bad.
What people don’t know may literally “bug” them in the future – these insectivores are devout mosquito killers, with individual bats consuming thousands of mosquitoes in one night alone. They don’t just single out mosquitoes either. Bats consume several agricultural pests that can do harm on crops and gardens.
On the east coast, a fungus has decimated nearly six million bats since 2006. White-nose Syndrome develops on the bats’ exposed skin, causing erosion and irritation. The discomfort causes bats to wake during crucial hibernation times and exert energy they cannot replenish without spring and summer insects. If the fungus continues to spread westward, the negative impacts on bat populations may be irreversible.
Dr. Keith Geluso, an Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, wants to start locating winter roost locations of Nebraska bats so he can track potential changes in populations. By finding these roosts, Geluso can also determine the type of species occupying them and when they arrive at and leave the roost.
He’s asking members of the public who know of a location that contains five or more roosting bats to please contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.