Heat Wave Leaves Bats Falling From Perches

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Heat Wave Leaves Bats Falling From Perches

Postby Wayne Harrison » Jul 28, 2006 6:24 pm

<img src="http://www.nbc5i.com/2006/0728/9592294.jpg" align="left" hspace=10 vspace=0>SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- People aren't the only ones feeling a West Coast heat wave -- bats are literally falling off their perches and onto the streets in California.

Rescue groups are trying to save the winged mammals by nursing them back to health.

They are feeding the dehydrated bats formula every six hours, hoping to release them back to the wild when they are well.

<a href="http://www.nbc5i.com/news/9592399/detail.html">Full Story, Video, Images</a>
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Postby Cheryl Jones » Jul 28, 2006 11:01 pm

High temperatures to blame for rise in bat deaths :cry:

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 26, 2006 11:01 PM PDT
Mexican free-tailed bat deaths are being reported in Placer County and neighboring areas during the current heat wave. Temperatures soared past the 100-degree mark again Wednesday. Courtesy of David Rosen/Wildside Photography

Soaring temperatures are being blamed for a rash of bat deaths, with about 30 discovered on the ground Wednesday in a Lincoln parking lot.

The bat carcasses were found near an older building on G Street that is used as a courthouse. Placer County Animal Services was dispatched and two of the bats were taken to the county lab for West Nile and rabies testing.

The founder of a Placerville bat rescue organization said the deaths were more than likely the result of the current heat wave.

Temperatures continued to eclipse the 100-degree mark on Wednesday, with the region well into the second week of a heat wave that has resulted in dozens of human deaths.

Dharma Webber, founder of the California Native Bat Conservancy, said she's had reports of dead infant Mexican free-tailed bats being found throughout the region. Dozens were found in Old Sacramento on Sunday after being pushed out of their nests by larger, older bats seeking escape from the heat.

"Bats don't regulate their temperatures like we do - they're normally in the 104- to 106-degree range and they don't sweat," Webber said. "The ones being found are babies and they don't last that long in the heat."

Adding to the difficulty of the bat pups surviving, adult Mexican free-tailed bats aren't physically able to pick up the pups from the ground.

"Some have been found with their mom lying over them," Webber said.

Mike Winters, Placer County Animal Services program manager, said the lab tests will be undertaken to rule out another cause of death other than heat.

The California Native Bat Conservancy takes in rescued bats and currently cares for about 50. None of the bats are from Auburn although areas like Old Town - where bats are known to nest in older buildings - are a favorite bat habitat, Webber said.

The heat has caused a jump in bat distress calls. The conservancy's phone number is 530-642-2731.

"This is highly unusual," Webber said. "We usually have a few reports around the Fourth of July and a few days afterward but this time, nothing's cooling off."

The youngest bats are nursed with a vitamin-enriched milk formula. They graduate to mealworm smoothies before being released into organic orchards in the Davis area after about three months.

Patrick Foy, a wildlife biologist with the state Department of Fish and Game, said wild animals are doing exactly what humans are doing as the heat continues.

"They're doing their best to adapt to the heat by moving to cooler areas and not moving around," Foy said.

The Journal's Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com.
http://www.auburnjournal.com/articles/2 ... bats27.txt
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