Are Zombie Bats Swarming Boston?
Just in time for Halloween, a mysterious illness affecting bats has arrived in Boston. But don’t worry about contracting the disease from bats, worry more about spreading it to them.
White-nose syndrome is a highly contagious disease that causes bats to wake from hibernation in the wintertime and fly out of their caves in search of brains bugs. Only there aren’t any to be had in the winter. Sort of sounds like the fast zombies in 28 Days Later, no?
In some bat colonies, the death rate exceeds 90 percent, according to Misty Edgecomb from The Nature Conservancy. The organization is now launching a spooky-looking poster to raise awareness:
Image courtesy of jonferland.com/TNC.
Why care about bats? Good question. Bats feed on up to 1,000 mosquitoes per night per bat, Edgecomb says, which goes a long way toward reducing the summer itchies. In the southwest and Mexico, bats pollenate agave plants, from which distillers make tequilla.
A world without tequilla, now there’s a scary thought.
Scientists aren’t yet sure how the disease spreads, and as a precaution they’re urging, sometimes ordering, people to stay out of bat caves. If you see a dead bat or you see a bat flying around in the winter, contact the state wildlife agency.