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The Things You’ll See Camping at O’Bannon Woods State Park, IN The Indiana Bat.

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Presentation on theme: "The Things You’ll See Camping at O’Bannon Woods State Park, IN The Indiana Bat."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Things You’ll See Camping at O’Bannon Woods State Park, IN The Indiana Bat

2 What is the Indiana Bat? Small, winged mammal, roughly 2 inches in length and weighing approximately ounce. The Indiana Bat is uniformly dark grey to grayish- brown in color and often has a pinkish colored nose. Live birth after a day gestational period. Considered an adult at 1 year of age. Live on average years, but have been recorded at over 20 years of age. Nocturnal, meaning they sleep during the day and are awake at night. Awe, isn’t he CUTE!

3 Where does it live? Mostly in the Eastern United States including: –Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Michigan. –Most, however are found in or near Indiana.

4 Where the Indiana bat roosts depends on the season From Fall through Spring the bats hibernate mostly in caves or abandoned mines. –Over 50% migrate to Indiana caves where the temperature is just right for hibernation. –They hibernate in colonies to maintain warmth. –Wyandotte Cave is a bat hibernaculum in O’Bannon Woods State Park. From Spring through Fall bats leave their winter homes, sometimes migrating further north, and roost in trees, old farm houses, and barns –O’Bannon Woods has them nesting in their campgrounds every year! –Males and females split up during this time, with males living in “bachelor colonies” and females raising their young. –You can sometimes find the single males living in caves during the summer months, but it is less common.

5 The Indiana Bat at O’Bannon Woods You can often find bats of all kinds, including the more rare Indiana Bat at O’Bannon Woods. The protected forests there and Wyandotte Caves provide the perfect spot to make a home. Wyandotte Cave is the 3 rd largest bat hibernaculum in the world! -To protect the bats, it is currently closed.

6 Myth Busters: Proving Why We Shouldn’t Be Afraid of the Flying Creatures of the Night.

7 Bats Carry Rabies Actually, less than 0.5% of all bats in the world have Rabies. –You are more likely to encounter a domestic pet with rabies than a bat. –Bats that are rabid are not aggressive and tend to avoid human contact. Bats are very clean and groom themselves just like cats. However, like all wild animals, you should never touch or hold a bat because it may bite to defend itself.

8 Bats are Vampires and Want to Suck Your Blood Vampires do not exist and therefore, bats can not be vampires. Bats do not eat blood, they eat insects and sometimes fruit. – The ONLY bat that eats blood are vampire bats but they do not eat human blood and don’t live in the United States. Bats get their bad rep from folklore and stories like Dracula. While it is true that bats fly around at night most bats eat insects and fruit.

9 Bats Will Get In Your Hair Bats can navigate in absolute darkness as well as during the day, maybe even better. What possible reason would a bat have to tangle itself (endangering itself in the process) in someone's hair? Bats may fly very close to you chasing after bugs, but their echolocation allows them to see better and recognize objects quicker than humans.

10 Bats are Blind They can actually see better than humans at night, however echolocation is their most important sense when hunting. Most bats do have bad eyesight, but they are definitely not blind. They are similar to dolphins who use echolocation to hunt, especially in the murky depths. Just as the dolphin is not blind, neither is the bat.

11 Bats are Flying Rats Bats are not in the family rodentia meaning they are not a rodent, nor are they related to them. Bats are actually closer to primates (humans) than they are rats.

12 Why We Love Our Batty Friends… Bats are very, very helpful! They… –Help control the insect population. –Reseed cut forests. –Pollinate plants that provide food for humans. –Taught us about sonar. –Bacteria in their guano (bat poop) is useful in improving soaps, making gasohol producing antibiotics, and is used as a fertilizer besides being a fertilizer. –Oh and guess what? Many eye cosmetics such as eyeliner and mascara have guano in them! Bats can eat up to 3000 insects a night! –Their favorite meal is mosquitoes. –Mosquitoes carry a much bigger threat of disease such as Malaria, West Nile Virus, and Yellow Fever than the very slight possibility of a bat carrying rabies.

13 Oh NO! The Indiana Bat is in Trouble! The Indiana Bat is Endangered, both in the state and federally. – In the past 25 years, the population of Indiana bats has declined by about 50 percent. Reasons for their decline include: – Natural hazards during hibernation, such as cave flooding. – Disturbance by humans during hibernation through people touring caves (especially those listed as a hibernaculum) in the winter or vandalism of caves and the bats. Vandals have knocked down and killed large clusters of bats just for fun. – Some people even shoot bats for entertainment, which is illegal. – Increased use of pesticides is passed from the insects (their food) to them, which is poisonous. – Clearing of forests causing a decline in their summer habitat. – White Nose Syndrome, a disease in bats that, like a plague, is decimating their populations.

14 White Nose Syndrome (WNS) An infectious white fungus that is only susceptible to bats. – It’s estimated to have killed over a million hibernating bat species in more than 15 states and two Canadian provinces so far. – Within an infected colony, there is an over 90% mortality rate. – The big brown bat, tri-colored bat, eastern small-footed bat, and Indiana bat have especially been affected due to their hibernation patterns. The fungus grows on their bodies (especially their nose and wings) and thrives in cool temperatures. – Scientists are still not exactly sure how it all works or how to fight it. – They believe the fungus is causing the bats to wake from their hibernation three times more than usual. They therefore are using up all of their reserved food and energy and dying of starvation before the winter is over

15 Colony of Bats Suffering from White Nose Syndrome

16 Transmission of White Nose Proven transmission of the fungus occurs from bat to bat interaction. – No conclusive proof exists that humans have transferred the fungus to the bat population. However, it is feared that recreational cavers may be carrying the fungus on their boots or clothing if not thoroughly sanitized between cave explorations. This is especially a concern during the winter months when bats are hibernating and in the caves listed as hibernaculums. To help resist the spread of the fungus, Indiana state caves have been temporarily closed. – It has been found in two Indiana caves so far: Wyandotte Cave in O’Bannon Woods and Endless Cave in Washington County, IN. Both of these caves have had no human access (gated and locked).

17 What We CAN Do To Help If you see a bat you suspect to have white nose, call DNR immediately. –If you see a bat flying around during the day, especially in winter, contact DNR as well. This is a sign of infection. –Indiana DNR: call (317) If you own a private cave that you know has a large bat population during the winter, gate it and/or do not allow entry during the months of Oct. through March. Be sure that all clothing and equipment is clean and decontaminated between exploring different cave systems-even if it’s a tourist cave. Report anyone vandalizing bat homes or actively trying to kill them to DNR. Avoid use of pesticides in your gardens-they’re not good for you either! Lastly spread the word and help people realize that we shouldn’t be afraid of bats but be glad that we have them!

18 If you go into a cave, be like a CAVER, not a Spelunker. Cavers practice cave conservancy making sure not to disturb the natural surroundings. Cavers are also always follow safe caving. –Wearing helmets, multiple layers of clothing, and boots-not tennis shoes. –They always carry headlamps and additional lights, batteries, food, water, and first aid equipment. –They also always clean their equipment between caves to help prevent the spread of WNS. Spelunkers are often unprepared, ill-dressed, and damage or do not care about protecting the cave environment.

19 Spelunker: NO Caver: YES


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