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White Nose Syndrome has not affected UF bat population

As many as 400,000 bats fly around the Bat Barn and Bat House at dusk each evening at the University of Florida. The bat population has not been effected despite an outbreak of the lethal White Nose Syndrome in other parts of the country.

By Elle Newbold – WUFT-FM

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As White Nose Syndrome afflicts bats and forces species to the endangered list, deep in the heart of Gator country are bats aplenty.

The Bat House on the campus of the University of Florida has been a popular attraction since its construction in 1991. Today, UF is home to about 400,000 of the only winged mammals with sustained flight ability.

Ken Glover, the pest management coordinator and the UF’s very own “bat man,” said the bat population is not in jeopardy and is doing very well.

“We don’t have any evidence of White Nose in this part of the country yet, not any sightings at the Bat House,” he said.

Glover said that the haven works in the animals’ favor. The wooden structure is open, allowing for light and air flow. White-nose syndrome flourishes in damp, dark places (like caves) where humidity contributes to fungus growth and infects the bats.

“We hope that it won’t be a problem. We had a successful pup season. The moms had babies again this summer.”

For more information on the Bat House and observation, visit www.flmnh.ufl.edu/bats.

George Pappas edited this story online.

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