Bats endangered, not a danger in Connecticut - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Bats endangered, not a danger in Connecticut

Posted: Updated:
Little brown bats. (DEEP photo) Little brown bats. (DEEP photo)

Environmental officials are using the upcoming Halloween holiday to remind people of the peril bats in Connecticut face and dispel any scary myths.

After all, they said Oct. 25 to 31 is considered Bat Week.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said in less than eight years, white-nose syndrome has killed thousands of Connecticut bats.

“Halloween is good time to dispel myths about bats,” said Jenny Dickson, a supervising biologist for DEEP’s Wildlife Division. “Rather than harbingers of doom, they are a key part of healthy ecosystems and provide tremendous economic benefits to agriculture and forestry through their insect control abilities.”

WNS has spread to hibernation sites in 26 states, leaving a trail of ecological havoc in its wake, DEEP said.

A number of local species have been affected, three of which were recently listed as endangered in Connecticut.

The little brown bat, northern long-eared bat and the tri-colored bat are on the list. The eastern small-footed bat was up-listed from special concern to endangered.

DEEP listed a few facts about bats to help dispel any misgivings about the animals.

  • They are not flying mice. They’re more closely related to primates than rodents.
  • They do not get caught in people’s hair. Bats that swoop are after insects and use sonar to navigate.
  • They have good eyesight.
  • They are clean animals and spend time grooming themselves. Clean wings are essential for intricate flight.
  • Vampire bats are only found in Latin America and are a parasite of birds and cattle.
  • Connecticut is home to nine native species.

“Learning more about bats and the important role they play in healthy ecosystems would be a great Halloween ‘treat’ for this beleaguered group of animals,” Dickson added. “Knowing why bats matter is an important first step in efforts to address this unprecedented mortality caused by white-nose syndrome.”

More information about WNS can be found here.

Copyright 2015 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.