What should I do if I find dead or dying bats, or if I observe bats with signs of White-nose Syndrome?

If you find a dead or dying bat:

  • Contact your state wildlife agency, file an electronic report in those states that offer this service, e-mail U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists in your area, or contact your nearest Fish and Wildlife Service field office to report your potential White-nose Syndrome (WNS) observations.
  • It is important to determine the species of bat in case it is a federally protected species. Photograph the potentially affected bats (including close-up shots, if possible) and send the photograph and a report to a state or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contact (above).
  • If you need to dispose of a dead bat found on your property, pick it up with a plastic bag over your hand or use disposable gloves. Place both the bat and the bag into another plastic bag, spray with disinfectant, close the bag securely, and dispose of it with your garbage. Thoroughly wash your hands and any clothing that comes into contact with the bat. 
  • If you see a band on the wing of a bat or a small device with an antenna on the back of a bat (living or dead), contact your state wildlife agency or your nearest Fish and Wildlife Service field office, as these are tools biologists use to identify individual bats.

Learn more at the website for the White-Nose Syndrome Response Team, a partnership of North American agencies and organizations including the USGS.

 

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What should cavers know and do in regard to White-nose Syndrome?

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Does White-nose Syndrome pose a risk to human health?

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A new study shows that vaccination may reduce the impact of white-nose syndrome in bats, marking a milestone in the international fight against one of the most destructive wildlife diseases in modern times.

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Deadly Fungus Affecting Hibernating Bats Could Spread During Summer

The cold-loving fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans, or Pd) that causes white-nose syndrome, a disease that has killed millions of North American bats during hibernation, could also spread in summer months. Bats and humans visiting contaminated caves and mines can inadvertently contribute to the spread of the fungus, according to a recently published study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: July 5, 2017

Hot new imagery of wintering bats suggests a group behavior for battling white-nose syndrome

Hot new imagery from temperature-sensing cameras suggests that bats who warm up from hibernation together throughout the winter may be better at surviving white nose syndrome, a disease caused by a cold-loving fungus ravaging insect-eating bat populations in the United States and Canada.

Date published: March 31, 2011

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Pest-control services provided by insect-eating bats in the United States likely save the U.S. agricultural industry at least $3 billion a year, and yet insectivorous bats are among the most overlooked economically important, non-domesticated animals in North America, according to an analysis published in this week’s Science magazine Policy Forum. 

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A bat with White-nose syndrome hanging in a cave. Photo by USFWS.
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A bat with White-nose syndrome.

A bat with White-nose syndrome hanging in a cave. Photo by USFWS.

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March 15, 2016

White-Nose Syndrome Lesions Under UV Light

Long-wave ultraviolet (UV) and white-light illumination of lesions associated with white-nose syndrome.  Points of orange–yellow fluorescence (arrows) detected on a roosting Indiana myotis (Myotis sodalis) following surface illumination with a field-portable 9-watt 368-nm fluorescent UV light (photo by Tina Cheng with permission).

Image: UV Light Showing White-Nose Syndrome in Bat's Wing
March 15, 2016

UV Light Showing White-Nose Syndrome in Bat's Wing

Long-wave ultraviolet (UV) and white-light illumination of lesions associated with white-nose syndrome.  Wing from dead Tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) lit from above with hand-held 51 LED 385-nm UV flashlight shows points of orange–yellow fluorescence.  

Image: Bat with White-nose Syndrome
March 14, 2016

Bat with White-nose Syndrome

Hibernating little brown bat with white muzzle typical of White-nose syndrome.

Bats benefit from maintaining a close-knit roosting group.
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Colony of bats.

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Hibernating Bats with White-nose Syndrome

Bats showing signs of infections with Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome.