I know there are a lot of people out in the world who are terrified of bats. Maybe it's because they grew up on tales of Dracula and other vampires... or maybe it's because they're just terrified of things flying above them in the dark.

BATS
Photo by René Riegal on Unsplash
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I however, have always found bats to be pretty adorable. They're like little mice with wings, and rarely are they as "dangerous" as movies and TV have made them out to be.

Ben Affleck Batman
Warner Bros.
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One bat species that is native to the Great Lakes is now facing extinction thanks to a preventable illness that is spreading throughout the area.

What bat is about to go extinct in Michigan?

On November 29th, 2022 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that they are now reclassifying the northern long-eared bat as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Courtesy of USFWS
Courtesy of USFWS
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This means that the population of this particular species of bat has been threatened to the point that we have to watch over and protect them, and it especially punishes anyone who tries to hurt or kill the few bats that we have left.

What has caused the northern long-eared bat to be endangered?

According to the final ruling, the northern long-eared bat faces extinction due to the impacts of white-nose syndrome. White-nose syndrome is a deadly disease that affects cave-dwelling bats across the continent.

Courtesy of USFWS
Courtesy of USFWS
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White-nose syndrome is caused by a fungus that infects the skin of the muzzle, ears, and wings of hibernating bats. I can be spread by both animals and humans who can carry it around on them without even knowing.

That's why it's very important to wash your shoes and clothing before and after visiting a cave with bats in areas that are effected.

If you'd like to learn more about how you can help reduce the spread of white nose syndrome, and help these bats, there's a website dedicated to the cause.

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