Help Bats On Your Next Hike
White-nose syndrome has killed millions of bats in North America so far. Help reduce the impact of this disease on your next hike.
First documented in New York in 2006, White-nose syndrome has since spread west killing millions of bats in North America. The first traces of it in Washington were found in March of 2016 and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is hoping to limit its impact in the area. That's where hikers can help.
What is white-nose syndrome?
White-nose syndrome causes bats to be unusually active when they should be hibernating, leading to loss of weight and eventual death. The fungus can grow on the nose, wings and ears of an infected bat, giving it a fuzzy appearance. Even if the fungus is not visible it may still be affecting a bat by causing wing damage, problems with respiration, inability to regulate temperature and dehydration.
Though the fungal disease does not pose a threat to humans, pets, or other animals it does have big impacts on Washington's ecology. With fewer bats patrolling the skies, insect numbers could increase, posing problems for farmers, hikers and other animals.
How you can help
- If you see bats that appear to be sick or dead report your findings to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife by web or call (360) 902-2515.
- Avoid entering areas where bats may be living to limit the spread of the disease and disturbance of roosting bats.
- If you come into contact with caves, rock cliffs, talus or mines please clean your gear to avoid spreading the fungal disease to other bats. Get more info on decontaminating your gear.
- Remember to never handle a live bat and if you must touch a dead bat, always use gloves for protection.