Home / Health / Delaware bats have their own scary enemy to defeat: vitno’s syndrome
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Bats with Vitnos Syndrome are seen in this undeclared photo provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. (Photo: PROVIDED)
Nestled in the dark, damp walls of an old civil war fort in the Delaware River , a real version of a popular Halloween decoration is waiting patiently for nightfall.
But as scary as long stories have made them seem, bats in Delaware have been cast in the lead of a truly scary story.
Among the (not so ) scary creatures are a silent killer: vitnos syndrome, like almost decimated Delaware l bad brown bat population. The disease was first confirmed in Delaware 2012 and destroyed entire colonies of extinction-threatened small-brown bats, state animal biologist Holly Niederriter told the previous News Journal.
Bats can fit perfectly with the haunted souls who are rumored to wander the walks of historic Fort Delaware, but there are far fewer of these flying mammals than it once was. Of the handful of small-scale colonies traced by the state, all were lost for white network syndrome, Niederriter said.
Vitnos syndrome is caused by a fungus that grows in cold, dark and humid places – exactly where bats like to live – like Fort Delaware. After infecting hibernating bats, the fungus looks like a white, fuzzy frosting on the faces of the flutter and can make them go a little bonkers like flying out during the daytime winter, according to the White-Nose Syndrome Response Team website.  As the fungus grows, bats can become more active and burn up the fat stores needed to survive the colder months, according to an American Fish & Wildlife Service blog. It is estimated that the disease has led to the death of hundreds of bats throughout the United States and Canada.
Due to the fungus, visitors are invited to wear footwear during their visit to the secluded historical site where education signs about the crisis also let people know that the little scary critters need help. These efforts to reduce the spread of sponges and raise public awareness were supported by a $ 15,785 grant from the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, awarded earlier this year.
7 things about bats you may not know
1. Eight bat species are known for living in first-class leaves, winds, barns and historic forts (Delaware does not really have any caves). These species include large brown bats, small brown bats, three-colored bats, northern long-haired leaves, east red bats, hoary bats, silver-haired bats and evening flags. It is possible that there may be some Eastern small-flagged fleets as well.
Large brown bat. (Photo: Courtesy of Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife)
2. Large brown bats are the most common species in Delaware, although this title historically belonged to small brown bats before they suffered from white grid syndrome.
3rd A little brown bats can eat their weight in insects every night. It would be like a person who ate 100 big Macs in one day.
4th Some studies estimate that bats save farmers over $ 3 billion in pesticides because they eat so many annoying bugs.
5th At least nine species of North American flag – including five known for frequent Delaware – have been hit hard by white network syndrome since the first appearance in 2006.
6. Most bats only have a puppy every year.
7. In Delaware, you can voluntarily monitor flatter populations, which may mean driving around the countryside and listening to their unique, cool conversations. To volunteer, call (302) 735-3600 or go to www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/bats.
Contact reporter Maddy Lauria at (302) 345-0608, [email protected] or on Twitter @MaddyinMilford.  DELAWARE’S HALLOWEEN HAPPENINGS
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