Bats and CO2?

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Bats and CO2?

Postby fuzzy-hair-man » May 28, 2007 8:49 pm

On the weekend we visited a nearby vertical cave in an cave area that is notorious for CO2.

So while we were there in the deeper sections of the cave(it is only a short cave) we noticed a fairly large number of dead bats (more than I had seen previously).

These lower levels also had relatively high levels of CO2 (it was safe to continue but there were noticable changes in breathing rates).

The cave has been closed from November to April because this is the maternity period for the bats that live there, but as far as I know the section where they generally breed is further up in the cave. These bats do go into torpor for a period over winter but I imagine this too is higher in the cave and hence warmer? In fact they may not use the cave to hibernate as I would expect it to be closed for this period, and I only remember the one period where the cave is closed.

So I am sort of wondering what might have caused the deaths and what may have caused the bats to be there in the first place as it seems unusual.

Do bats suffer from high CO2? if so I would have thought they would move unless perhaps they were hibernating but that period has long passed.

We also noticed a fair few bats on the main pitch, which is unusual, so their usual haunt may be getting over-crowded and they have to find other roosts in the cave? Maybe this led them to venture further into the cave than usual? but still doesn't explain the deaths.

The dead bats seemed like adults I didn't notice any smaller bats amongst them.

Any bat experts have any ideas? Just curious.
We are going through an unusually prelonged drought.
Do sick or dying bats remove themselves from a population? as some other animals do?

I know it's a difficult question to ask.... :oops:
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