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Protect yourself from sick bats | Urban Wildlife

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Protect yourself from sick bats
Urban Wildlife
Protect yourself from sick bats

RUSSELLVILLE, AR -- Natural resource managers have begun winter monitoring of Arkansas caves to determine if a deadly fungus is present in some Arkansas bat populations.  White-nose syndrome, a disease fatal to bats, has killed more than one million bats in the last four years.  It has not yet been found in Arkansas.


Biologists from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Ozark National Forest are working together in the cave rich northern region of the state where caving is a popular pastime and visitors tour the deep recesses of Blanchard Springs Caverns.   White “fuzz” around the muzzle (hence the name) or white spots on the wings and body are telltale signs of the disease.

 
The agencies urge members of the public to pay special attention to bats this winter and report unusual behavior or the presence of dead bats to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at 1-877-470-3650.  While white-nose syndrome is not known to affect humans, precautions, such as wearing gloves, should be taken before handling bats at any time, whether they are dead or alive.


Wildlife personnel say there are things the public can do now to help. Stay out of caves and mines where bats are known - or suspected - to hibernate (hibernacula).

Report unusual bat behavior to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, including bats flying during the day when they should be hibernating (December through March) and bats roosting in sunlight on the outside of structures. Bats unable to fly or struggling to get off the ground would also be unusual.

Urban Wildlife