Snuggling bats have better survival rates


November 23, 2017

New imagery from temperature-sensing cameras suggests bats that warm up from hibernation together throughout the winter may be better at surviving white nose syndrome, a disease caused by a cold-loving fungus that has ravaged insect-eating bat populations in the United States and Canada.

“We observed that bats from a species that appears to be less affected by the disease are arousing together as a group throughout winter hibernation,” says study author David Hayman, a professor at Massey University’s Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences. “This result suggests that group arousals during hibernation might be associated with the ability to survive disease, rather than as a precursor to death. Group arousals may enable body temperatures less conducive to fungal growth and increase the bats’ ability to survive disease.”

The study, conducted by researchers with Massey University in New Zealand and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) was published this summer in Methods in Ecology and Evolution.


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