08/30/2017: "Bats Need Your Help"
In mid-April 2017, Happy Valley Bats, a local rehab facility that specializes in rescuing bats, received a call about a bat unable to fly near North Bend in King County. WDFW biologist Chris Anderson responded and located the bat, which had died before he arrived.
When Chris collected and examined the bat, he noted some signs that are common in bats with WNS (White-nose Syndrome). Rather than being soft and flexible, the bat’s wing membranes were sticky.
Other signs of white-nose syndrome include:
• Dehydrated, wrinkled or damaged skin on wings
• Loss of flight
What you can do:
• Contact the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife immediately if you suspect you have seen bats with this condition.
• Do not handle live bats. If you have found a sick or dead bat, please report it using the online reporting form.
• Report groups of bats you see using the online observation reporting form. This information will help us understand our bat populations and monitor white-nose syndrome in Washington.
• Do not spread white-nose syndrome in Washington and limit disturbance to roosting bats. Avoid entering areas where bats may be living to limit the potential of transmitting the fungus that causes the disease and disturbing vulnerable bats. Do not allow dogs to access areas where bats may be roosting or overwintering as they may act as carriers of the fungus to new sites.
• Clean your clothing and gear if you come into contact with crevices in rock cliffs, talus areas, caves or mines. If possible use the decontamination guidelines at www.whitenosesyndrome.org.
• Improve bat habitats. Reduce lighting around your home, minimize tree clearing, and protect streams and wetlands. Try to incorporate one or more snags into your landscape keeping old and damaged trees when possible. Snags provide important habitat for bats and other backyard wildlife. For more information on living with bats, and instructions for how to build a bat house, visit: wdfw.wa.gov/living/bats.html