White-Nose Syndrome in Bats

Help Us Prevent White-Nose Syndrome from Killing our Bats in Central Oregon

Bats are an essential and beneficial part of the ecosystem. Worldwide, they play critical roles in insect control, plant pollination, seed dissemination, cave ecosystems, and provide food for other animals. Of the 47 species of bats in the U.S. over half hibernate in caves and mines to survive winter.

There are 14 species of bats found in Central Oregon, most of which hibernate in caves. Over 400 caves occur on the Deschutes with hundreds more caves on adjacent private and Bureau of Land Management administered lands. Our cave bats in Central Oregon eat millions of insects, including forest and agricultural pests.

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a new disease that has killed over 6 million hibernating bats in North America since 2006.  This disease is caused by the fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which is often visible on the noses and skin of infected bats. The fungus thrives in cold temperatures in caves and mines. The disease acts a skin irritant, causing infected bats to awaken from hibernation too often, prematurely burning up their fat and water reserves before emerging in the spring. Affected bats have been seen flying during the day, or found dead or dying outside caves during winter.

Bat with White-Nose Syndrome

A Bat with White-Nose Syndrome

How White Nose Syndrome Is Spread in Bats

Bat to Bat – Bat to bat contact appears to be the main way that the fungus is spread.
Soils to Bat - The fungus can survive in cave/mine soils and infect healthy bats.
Cave to Humans to Bats – Humans may accidentally transmit WNS from infected sites to clean sites on their clothing, footwear, or equipment.

What Can I Do to Help?

Want to Learn More About Bats?

 Visit BatsLIVE on our Parents & Teachers page page for activities, curricula and webcasts. 


Educators can reserve a Bat Educational Trunk by visiting this website: https://batslive.pwnet.org/edubat/trunk.php.

Visit Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to learn about Oregon's bats: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/livingwith/bats.asp