NJ Wildlife News & Views
  October 21, 2013

Halloween Without Bats??

Now THAT's Scary!

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Don't let bats become ghosts! (Well, maybe the pretend kind.)

Hello Friends,


It's that spoooooky time of year again. The crooked grins of carved pumpkins. Little zombies on the prowl for fresh flesh. And bats flapping their wings across the face of a full moon.


Is your skin prickling yet? In a Halloween without those bats, it sure would be. Your handsome Gladiator arms puckered with itchy red bug bites - YIKES! Earworms swarming the corn maze - AGH!! And all the yummy bite-size chocolate bars that gorge your gullet? Better start rationing.


For as spooky as they may seem, bats are more than just an icon for our freakiest holiday...they're some of the most beneficial animals to people all over the globe. Seventy percent of the world's bat species (and all of New Jersey's) eat insects, including mosquitoes, potato beetles, gypsy moths, and even stink bugs! In fact, bats' bug-munching services are worth several billion dollars a year in the U.S. alone. Elsewhere, bats are important pollinators, seed dispersers, and medicine makers (chocolate counts as medicine, right?). 


But despite their virtues, bats are in grave danger from a variety of threats.


Help us fight for bats!


White-nose syndrome has nearly wiped out populations of cave-hibernating bats across New Jersey and the eastern half of North America since 2006, killing as many as 6 million bats and counting.  The Conserve Wildlife Foundation is working hard alongside many partners to better understand and fight this deadly fungal disease (learn more). To date, there is no known way to prevent or cure white-nose syndrome in the ecosystem.   


More encouraging are our efforts to engage new partners in the fight for bats! Conserve Wildlife now collaborates with pest controllers to solve "house bat" problems and offer NJ-specific info for homeowners. We work with Scouts to build bat houses, then give them out for free where bats are being evicted from buildings. Our programs, bat watches, and volunteer projects like roost monitoring reach thousands of kids and adults. So many have enjoyed seeing that bats are really not so terrifying - just misunderstood.



There's no better gift you can put in the trick-or-treat bag.


Here's to keeping the night skies spooky. Thank you!


-From the Conserve Wildlife Foundation Team


Clockwise from top left: A big brown bat is assessed during a maternity colony survey; a roost box is installed in the Sourlands; and little brown bats are censused in Hibernia Mine as part of White-nose Syndrome research (pictured are CWF intern Erica Fisher, Rutgers University student Ashley Levinson, and CWF biologist MacKenzie Hall).



 Learn More about Bats 



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Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey