Bat Disease Threatens Ecological Catastrophe |

Little brown bat with white-nose syndrome in G...

Image via Wikipedia- brown bat with white-nose syndrome

Bat Disease Threatens Ecological Catastrophe |

“I’ve worked with bats over 45 years and never have I seen, or even known about, any kind of mortality rate comparable to what we’ve seen,” says Thomas Kuntz, a biology professor at Boston University.  He is one of the few bat specialists in America.

The disease is called white-nose syndrome.  It started, presumably, in a small cave in upstate NY called Howe Caverns;  a popular tourist attraction outside of Albany.  In 2006 a caver reported many bats displaying white growth on their nose and wings.  These bats were noticeably weaker than the non-infected bats.  They came out of hibernation earlier and died off more rapidly from starvation or over-exposure.

In the last 4 years this disease has spread through the Northeast killing more than a million bats.  This last year new outbreaks have been reported as far as Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Missouri.  Already affected areas include upstate NY, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.  Canada was affected in 2009 in Quebec and Ontario  The ecological impact this will create, or has created is not totally known.

When a cave is infected more than 75% will likely be wiped out during the first winter hibernation and  after the next winter 90% of the original colony will have either died or contracted the disease.

One senior US wildlife official has gone so far as to describe the massacre as “the most precipitous decline of North American wildlife caused by infectious disease in recorded history”.

“One of the biggest problems we’re facing is that we don’t really know much about bats or this fungus,” says Hazel Barton, a British born professor of microbiology at the University of Kentucky whose team are concentrating on studying the fungus behind the deaths.

The most accepted hypothesis of how this disease is killing, according to an article at, is that the fungus attacks the immune system and interferes with hibernation.

When I took a class at SUNY ESF called Mammal Diversity taught by Professor Mark V. Lomolino, I remember learning that bats huddle closely in hibernation to become like one large body.  Professor Lomolino teaches a variety of classes at the College of  Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY.  He has a special place in his heart, however, for bats.  I am currently waiting for his comment and this article will be updated as needed.

In most species of bat, individuals will  frequently arise from torpor about once every 12-20 days.  It has been observed that the infected bats will wake up 2-3 times as much.

“In heterothermic bats one or more sensory systems and the brain remain sensitive at low temperatures and initiate the necessary heat production for arousal. Heat is generated by the metabolism of fat and by shivering. (Encyclopedia Britannica, Thermoregulation)”

“Every time they arouse it’s an enormous drain on their energy levels,” says Dr Kunz.  They need to raise their body temperature every time they wake.  The bats with white-nose syndrome wake severely undernourished.  They head towards the mouth of the cave to find insects.  Some don’t make it out and others die of exposure in a few hours.

Six species of hibernating bat have been affected, two of these are endangered species of bat that have been critically affected: the Grey bat, Myotis grisescens and the Indiana bat, Myotis sodalis.

Gray Bat- Myotis grisescens

Gray Bat Range









Indiana bat - Myotis sodalis



Indiana Bat Range










If America’s bats die out there will be an huge issue in the farming industry related to insects.  Bats eat more than half their weight of insects every night.  The University of Boston, using a test study compiled over eight counties in Texas, believes the US farming industry will go from spending $1bn (£630m) a year on pesticides to $9bn.

The fight has partially moved to preventing the spread into the West Coast.  The Great Plains and the Rockies act as sort of a natural barrier.  Few species from places like Tennessee end up in California, Washington, or Oregon: boasting some of the largest bat populations in the country.

The biggest fear: HUMAN TRANSMISSION!!

This is what happened to Hellbender populations and other amphibians as humans aided the

Chytrid Fungus in a frog

spread of chytrid fungus, a skin-disease.

Spread of Chytrid Fungus






It is thought that the white-nose fungus may have breen brought by someone from Europe.  It then either mutated into a pathogen or already was one for bats that did not have the required immunity.

“A number of bats in Germany, Hungary and Switzerland have recently been found to carry the white-nose fungus but are not affected by it suggesting that Europe’s bat population has already experienced a mass fatality and become resistant. (”

All it would take is for a careless caver to carry this disease over to the West Coast!


How toothpaste is speeding up the spread of superbugs | Mail Online

Putting toothpaste on a toothbrush. The toothp...

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How toothpaste is speeding up the spread of superbugs | Mail Online.

Many companies are adding an antibacterial ingredient, this includes Colgates Total.

The issue of  the over-use of antibacterial products causing Antibiotic Resistance comes into play here.

I did not know that I was being slipped a danger cocktail every time I brushed my teeth.  I will certainly be reading up on ALL labels now.

The beauty care industry is reserved special trade secret rights to where many ingredients can be hidden behind VERY general categories so that they do not have to reveal their secret scent, or taste, etc.

It bothers me that I also found out a few years ago that the stuff put into toothpaste to whiten teeth can be hazardous to children and to adults if swallowed.

Keep up on reading your labels guys!!

Wolf Awareness Week: Mythbusting | Defenders of Wildlife Blog

grey wolf

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Wolf Awareness Week: Mythbusting | Defenders of Wildlife Blog.

Busting open the myths about wolves that still lead to the slaughter of wolves and their cubs to this very day!

Tar Creek Trailer: A Documentary of the Worst Environmental Disaster You’ve Ever Heard Of

Tar Creek —.   <——-  Link to their site!!

“Once one of the largest lead and zinc mines on the planet, Tar Creek is now home to more than 40 square miles of environmental devastation in northeastern Oklahoma: acid mine water in the creeks, stratospheric lead poisoning in the children, and sinkholes that melt backyards and ball fields.”

Conference Call with Bill McKibben and White House Official Jon Carson |

Seal of the United States Council on Environme...

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Conference Call with Bill McKibben and White House Official Jon Carson |

Join a call with the White House just 12 hours before the Global Work Party kicks off around the world. Jon Carson, the National Field Director for the Obama campaign and now a senior official for the Council on Environmental Quality, will be on the line to talk about the power of your grassroots organizing, and what the Obama Administration is doing to address climate change.

When: The call will start at 5pm PST/ 8pm EST, Saturday, October 9

Conference call number (201) 793-9022

Conference room number 9465206

Ram Trucks – Zac Brown Band – Letters for Lyrics

Ram Trucks – Zac Brown Band – Letters for Lyrics.

Write a letter to our soldiers.  Whether you are FOR war or AGAINST war does not matter.  These are human beings who are afraid and lonely, who miss their homes, their mamas, their wives, kids, and cat.  Make someone’s day by writing a personal heartfelt letter.  You don’t have to lie and say you are ok with war if you are not.  Many soldiers often have few options in life.  It is either working at a factory or joining the military.  This is not true for all of them, of course, but you get my point.

By writing a letter and bringing it to a Ram truck dealership you will receive a free CD of some band I never heard of.  But, don’t do it for the CD…do it because you are a good person.

I dedicate this to Robert Charles and my sister Jill Charles and their family!!!

CNN News Video: Toxic Coal Ash in Pennsylvania Contamines Water

Coal Power Plant

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News Report on Toxic Coal Ash!!!