Monday, November 11, 2013

Bat Die Off in the Garden

There is a bat house on a high pole in the middle of the VegHeadz garden.  We and the bats have been co-existing peacefully for several years.  The garden was created around the bat house which had been there for some time when we moved in.  This fall, for the first time, the gardeners have found dead bats on the ground under the bat house.  Master Gardener Fred Vroom, our Demo Garden wildlife expert, has done a thorough investigation and has also delivered several bats to experts to be analyzed.  View Dr. Vroom's very thorough and interesting report for more detailed information about bats and the current die-off.  Summarizing his findings, these are Mexican free-tailed bats; bat die offs often happen during cooler weather; it is most likely caused by a virus, bacterium, or fungus; it is most unlikely to be rabies; it is unlikely whatever killed them would spread to humans but it is possible; bats are very beneficial to the garden; don't pick up a bat, dead or alive.  Just to be safe we are avoiding the area and when the final tox results are in, a decision will be made about what to do to protect all who visit the garden.

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