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Vermont's Bats Need Your Help

White-nose Syndrome in Bats
White-nose syndrome (WNS) in the northeastern United States has caused unprecedented mortality of six species of cave bats, which are bats that hibernate in caves and mines in the winter months. The disease was first documented in New York State during the winter of 2006, and quickly spread to Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut. 

WNS is associated with a newly identified fungus that invades the skin and breaks down the tissue in hibernating bats. In Vermont, populations of cave bats have declined dramatically since the disease was first observed in the state. In particular, populations of Vermont’s two most common bat species – the little brown bat and the northern long-eared bat (northern myotis) – have declined over 90% in three years. Read more on WNS »

Battle For Bats:Surviving White Nose Syndrome – This video shows how government and private agencies have come together to search for solutions to help our bat populations overcome WNS and features the research of Vermont Fish & Wildlife staff.

Vermont’s Endangered Bats
Vermont is home to nine bat species. The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources is listing the little brown bat and northern long-eared bat as endangered due to the high mortality caused by WNS. Current research indicates both species populations have been reduced by 90% in the past three years, and the once very common little brown bat may be extirpated within 15 years. Other bat species currently on the Vermont endangered species list include the state-threatened small-footed bat and the state and federally endangered Indiana bat.

Vermont's House Bats
Vermont’s little brown bat and the big brown bat commonly live in buildings and are often referred to as “house bats.” Little brown and big brown bats are common visitors to residences from mid-April to October, although the big brown bat may overwinter in attics.

During the summer months, female little brown and big brown bats form colonies, sometimes in large numbers, in attics, sheds or under shingles. This is where they give birth and raise their young. Males also frequent buildings, either alone or in small groups.

Bats in Your House
Human-bat conflicts were once a common occurrence in Vermont during the summer months, especially late July and early August when young bats, called pups, first begin flying. Now that WNS has devastated Vermont’s bat populations, conflicts are much less common but still can occur.

Here are some helpful resources to learn how to successfully remove bats from your house without causing harm to the bats, as well as how to provide an alternative roositng site.

Reporting and Monitoring Bat Colonies
If you find a bat colony in your Vermont residence, PLEASE HELP by reporting the colony using our
Bat Colony Reporting Form.

You also can help by volunteering to monitor summer colonies and count bats on warm summer nights as they emerge from buildings. Check out our Summer Maternity Roost Monitoring Program for more information.

Bats and Possible Rabies Exposure
Bats are often associated with rabies, although less than 1% of bats carry the disease. Nevertheless, rabies in humans is a fatal disease that should be treated seriously.

If you encounter a bat flying in a room, make sure that no person or pet has had contact with the bat. Do not release the bat if it was found in a room with a sleeping person, a previously unattended child, or a mentally disabled or intoxicated person.

If there is any question about possible contact with the bat, do not release it. Contact your local health department as soon as possible. Call 1-800-640-4374 (VT) or 1-802-863-7240. Or, you can contact the rabies hotline number (1-800-472-2437).

Even though the state-endangered little brown bat is legally protected from harm, any bat species with which a potential exposure to rabies has occurred may be collected, killed, and tested for rabies under a broad incidental take permit.

All such bats must be reported to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Please either:

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