What’s killing our bats?

flying bat

Bats have been an unappreciated insect control for many years. Now, last winter and this winter, little brown bats in the Northeastern U.S. have been coming out of hibernation early and dying in the snow.

I have a guess as to the cause. Our autumn season has been consistently longer and finer since 1995. It was especially so that year, but every year since then the oak leaves have hung on long enough to develop bronzy, red, and purplish colours instead of just mud brown. The last two years we’ve had a green Christmas or snow has come just a few days before Christmas. (I’m in Ontario, similar enough to the northeast U.S. and Quebec.)

I think that October, November, and most of December have become too warm for the bats to hibernate but too cold for their insect prey. They are burning energy by staying awake and unable to eat enough to compensate. The result could be starving and early awwakening. It’s just a hypothesis. Can we set up some bat “aviaries” to test it?

dying bats on snow

8 Responses to “What’s killing our bats?”

  1. S E E Quine Says:

    Awwww! Poor bats! I bet this is only the beginning of the warming trend….

  2. andy Says:

    pesticides are killing your bats! how? insects are sprayed with pesticides bats eat infected insects , bats die. Its a known fact and these cause birth defects in affected bats/animals that dont die.

  3. monado Says:

    In that case, why didn’t the bats die off when we were spraying every swamp and tree with DDT? We are using things now to which mammals are much less sensitive.

  4. leogirl Says:

    Can anyone tell me how to locate where a bat is hiding in a house? I saw it fly from one room to the next in the basement but didn’t see where it landed.

  5. monado Says:

    No, except look in dark corners under the ceiling beams. I suggest opening the basement windows or doors to the outside and turning off the lights. Maybe make some noise?

  6. emily Says:

    is it posible for bats to be in new orleans
    i think so
    one night i was swimmiing with a friend and we freacked cause we saw a bat flew by

  7. Bibolin eta kontrabaxuen arteko desberdintasunak « uhandreak Says:

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  8. Just Passing By Says:

    White-nose syndrome (caused by a fungus) is what has caused many species of bats to come out of hibernation too early. Read about it at Bat Conservation International:


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