Nancy Heaslip, New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Nancy Heaslip, New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Shivering bats need help to fight off white-nose syndrome

Researchers are hoping that heated bat boxes can curtail the number of bats dying from white-nose syndrome — a condition that has decimated hibernating bats across the northeastern United States.

As many as half a million bats have died from the poorly understood ailment since it was discovered in New York state in 2006. Because the bodies of emaciated bats are often found strewn around the entrances of affected caves, scientists have hypothesized that the bats are starving to death during hibernation. Now, a pair of ecologists has created a mathematical model that suggests the bats’ hibernation patterns are being altered, forcing them to burn through their fat reserves to warm up. Furthermore, they propose placing heated huts within affected caves for the bats to move into, allowing them to conserve energy — and survive.

:: continue reading in Nature ::

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