“No more cuddling — at least during hibernation.”

That is the advice scientists would like to give bats at risk for contracting white-nose syndrome.

Science News details recent findings from a study led by biologists at the University of California, Santa Cruz —

Certain species pack into tight, dense clusters during hibernation. Whether there are 30 bats or 3,000 in a given cave or mine, some species will crowd together cheek by jowl, shoulder to shoulder. These bats face the gravest risk of infection, the researchers report online July 3 in Ecology Letters. Whether their wintering colony is large or small, the infection rate is the same — massive.

***

For bats that prefer to leave a little wiggle room between themselves and hibernating neighbors, white nose risk is lower — and diminishes as a colony’s size shrinks

To many scientists surprise, some species of bats are altering their hibernating behavior in response to the disease.  As many as 75% of little brown bats, which usually hibernate in densely-packed groups, are now roosting individually.

Scientists believe that this change in behavior may be the thing that keeps the little brown bat from going extinct.

Let’s hope so.

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~ by siouxsielaw on July 7, 2012.

One Response to ““No more cuddling — at least during hibernation.””

  1. This whole situation breaks my heart.

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