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Why do bats need help?

Bats are one of the least studied mammals. Not enough is known about most species to even determine a conservation status. Additionally, their reproduction rate (number of babies they have) is so low that it takes a very long time for their population to rebound after a serious loss of individuals (Batcon, n.d.).

Invasive Species

White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) was discovered in New York in 2006. Since then, it has spread to 33 states and 7 Canadian provinces, and has killed more than 6 million bats. WNS is a disease caused by a fungus called Pseudogymnoascus destructans. It can spread by direct contact from surfaces, bat to bat contact, and people can carry the spores from cave to cave by accident if they do not wash their gear. People are not affected by WNS. WNS was found in Washington state in 2016 (USGS, 2019). Learn more here

Domestic cats and feral cats (cats that live outside) are a threat towards bats, other small mammals, and birds. Many native species do not have defenses against introduced predators such as cats. Although cats do not necessarily eat bats and other animals they do hunt them. Cats can kill 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds and 6.9 to 20.7 billion small mammals per year (Ghose, 2013). 

Image 4. Heaslip. Picture of Little Brown Bats With White-nose Syndrome. Source:

Image 5. Photo of Darcey. 2020. Source: Jessica Butt

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Image 6. Photo of Tug. 2020. Source: Hattie Potter


Wind turbines, although are a clean renewable energy source, are a large threat to bats and birds. It is estimated tens to hundred of thousands of bats die each year from running into these huge machines. Most species being killed are migratory such as the hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus) and silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans). Some strategies such as Ultrasonic Acoustic Deterrents are being used to keep bats from the turbines but more research needs to be done in order to see if the device is actually working (Batcon, n.d.; USGS, 2019). It is not yet mandatory to install any deterrents or devices to avoid bat or bird fatalities. 

Wind Farms

Image 7. Kwiatkowski. Photo of wind turbine. Stzelno Colossus. Source: 


Habitat Destruction and Degradation

Bats use a variety of habitats including large trees, caves, and cliffs. Habitat destruction and degradation which is the loss of places where bats would normally live or eat, is occurring all around the world. This is due to deforestation (cutting down lots of trees), mining practices, and draining of wetlands (Batcon, n.d.)

Image 8. Miller. Photo of deforestation. Source: 


Climate Change

Climate change is increasing the severity (how strong) and how often natural disasters like windstorms, rainstorms, snowstorms, drought (lack of rain), heatwaves, and giant fires occur. These events can destroy bat homes, make it very difficult to hunt, make them too hot or too cold (NPS, 2017).  

Learn more from a real astronaut! 

Califonia Academy of Sciences. (2014) How does climate change affect biodiversity? Video retrieved from:

This all sounds scary but the good news is, you can help bats! Click here to see what steps you can take to help these night time fliers!

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