Let’s go to bat for the little brown bat

This little brown bat has white-nose fungus on its wings as well as its nose. (Marvin Moriarity / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

White-nose syndrome has killed millions of bats in North America since it was first documented here in 2006–07. The disease has been particularly devastating for the little brown bat. How much do you know about the little brown bat and white-nose syndrome? Answers are below.

1. Just how little is a little brown bat?

A. 1.5 to 3 inches with a 9-inch wingspan

B. 2 to 3.5 inches with a 10-inch wingspan

C. 2.5 to 4 inches with an 11-inch wingspan

D. 3 to 4.5 inches with a 12-inch wingspan

2. Little brown bats can eat up to half of their body weight each night. (Nursing females will eat up to 110% of their weight.) How much does a little brown bat weigh?

A. Up to 0.5 ounce

B. Up to 0.75 oz.

C. Up to 1 oz.

D. Up to 1.25 oz.

3. A little brown bat can eat 1,200 insects in an hour. How does it capture them?

A. Directly with its teeth

B. It uses its wing tips to capture insects and bring them to its mouth.

C. It uses its tail to capture insects and bring them to its mouth.

D. All of the above

4. Little brown bats can fly as fast as 21–22 miles per hour. What is their usual speed?

A. 6 miles per hour

B. 9 mph

C. 12 mph

D. 15 mph

5. How do little brown bats prevent mid-air collisions when they are hunting in the same area?

A. They honk.

B. They fly in a formation.

C. Their keen sense of smell warns them when they get too close.

D. They pick up the infrared heat from each others’ bodies.

6. The name, white-nose syndrome, comes from the furry white growth on the infected bats’ noses, ears and wings. What are other symptoms of this disease?

A. Hibernating bats wake up several times during the winter, which raises their metabolism and burns fat that was supposed to sustain them during the winter.

B. Bats fly outside in daylight.

C. They cough up white phlegm.

D. Both A & B

7. White-nose syndrome is caused by a…

A. Bacteria

B. Fungus

C. Parasite

D. Virus

8. How can people help to prevent white nose syndrome from spreading?

A. Stay out of caves or mines where bats roost.

B. Help protect bat habitat by minimizing light around your house, reducing tree clearing and getting involved in projects that protect or restore wetlands and waterbodies, which attract insects that, in turn, attract bats.

C. If there are unwanted bats in your house, contact your local natural resource agency. They know how to remove or exclude bats without harming them.

D. Report unusual bat activity to your state natural resource agency.

E. All of the above

Want to help by building a bat box? Download plans at:


1. C.   2. A.   3. D   4. C.   5. A   6. D   7. B   8. E


Kathleen Gaskell is the Bay Journal's copy and layout editor and author of the Chesapeake Challenge. Contact Kathleen at kgaskell@bayjournal.com.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

We aim to provide a forum for fair and open dialogue.
Please use language that is accurate and respectful.
Comments may not include:

* Insults, verbal attacks or degrading statements
* Explicit or vulgar language
* Information that violates a person's right to privacy
* Advertising or solicitations
* Misrepresentation of your identity or affiliation
* Incorrect, fraudulent or misleading content
* Spam or comments that do not pertain to the posted article
We reserve the right to edit or decline comments that do follow these guidelines.