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But as scary as big stories have apparently made them, bats in Delaware have been cast in the lead role of a truly fearsome story.
Among these (not so) scary creatures is a silent killer: White-Nose Syndrome, the small brown bat of Delaware's nearly decimated population. The disease was first confirmed in Delaware in 2012, destroying whole colonies of endangered small brown bats, wildlife bull researchers Holly Niederriter previously told The News Journal.
Bats may fit perfectly with the enchanted souls who supposedly wander the sidewalks of historic Fort Delaware, but there are far fewer of these flying mammals than they used to. Of the handful of small brown bat colonies that were persecuted by the state, all were lost to White Nose Syndrome, said Niederriter.
White-Nose syndrome is caused by a fungus that grows in cold, dark and humid places – exactly where bats like to nest – like Fort Delaware. After bats have hibernated, the fungus looks like a white, fuzzy frosting on the bats' faces and may cause them to go a little crazy, such as flying outside during the winter, as shown on the White House website. Nose syndrome response teams.  As the fungus grows, bats can become more active and burn the fat reserves needed to survive the colder months, according to a blog from the US Fish & Wildlife Service. It is estimated that the disease has led to the deaths of millions of bats in the United States and Canada.
Because of the fungus, visitors are now encouraged to wear footwear during their visit to a remote historic site that has educational signs Let people know about the crisis that these little eerie creatures need help. These efforts to reduce the spread of the fungus and increase public awareness were supported by a $ 15,785 grant from the US Fish & Wildlife Service.
7 things about bats that you may not know
1. Eight species of bats live in First State foliage, attics, barns and historic forts (Delaware has no caves). These species include large brown bats, small brown bats, tri-colored bats, northern long-eared bats, eastern red bats, wild bats, silver-haired bats and evening bats. It is possible that some eastern bats also fly around.
Big brown bat. (Photo courtesy of the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife)
2. Large brown bats are the most commonly spotted species in Delaware, although this title used to be among the small brown bats before they were affected by White Nose syndrome.
. 3 A small brown bat can eat insects every night. That would be like a person eating 100 Big Macs in one day.
. 4 Some studies estimate that bats save farmers more than $ 3 billion in pesticides because they eat so many annoying bugs.
. 5 At least nine species of North American bats – five of which are known to be common in Delaware – have been severely affected by White Nose Syndrome since their first appearance in 2006.
. 6 Most bats have only one puppy every year.
7. In Delaware, you can volunteer to monitor bat populations, meaning you're driving through rural areas, watching for their unique, squeaky calls. To volunteer, call or go to www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/bats.
Contact Reporter Maddy Lauria at (302) 345-0608, firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @MaddyinMilford.
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