White-nose syndrome is a disease responsible for killing millions of bats across America. It’s now been detected on a bat in Washington state. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is concerned it could show up in California next.
Scientists don’t know how white-nose syndrome turned up on a bat in Washington state. The farthest west the disease had ever been detected before was in Nebraska, more than1300 miles away.
White-nose syndrome originated in the northeast and has spread gradually over the last 10 years, killing six million bats in the US and Canada.
The grey powdery fungus grows on the skin of hibernating bats, causing them to wake up. That can lead to starvation. It can also damage wings leaving them unable to fly.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife wants the public to report any sick or dead bats or bats flying outside during very cold temperatures.
Bats can eat almost their entire weight in insects a day. The national value of pest control by bats is estimated at more than $3 billion a year.