Monday, September 13, 2010

Master Naturalist Class Day 4

For pictures, click HERE.

I took so many notes for the last class that I am actually going to make this a two part blog post. This is part one and part two will be posted tomorrow. I didn’t want to overwhelm anyone with all this information so I felt it would be better to split it all instead of putting you to sleep. Hope you enjoy it.

014First we met at Stumphouse Tunnel where we met Mary Bunch, the wildlife biologist with DNR. She suggested that we take this picture and turn it upside down so we look like bats!

Here are some bat facts that I learned:

1. White Nose Syndrome (WNS) – could be killing the bats, yet it is not invasive, not getting in external organs.

2. Afflicted bats cannot break down chitin (exoskeleton of insects)

3. WNS optimal growth 5°C - 10°C; marginal growth 15°C, and upper growth 20°C

4. Bats need 3°C-14°C

5. Southern bats live longer because they have shorter hibernation, warmer temperatures, more insects

6. Little brown bat – mountains are the southern most range for these

7. Extinction of little brown bat due to WNS in 16 years

8. Disease is spreading faster than research can happen.

9. Predominant species in Piedmont: Tricolored bats, big brown bat, Evening bats, free tailed bats (found in artificial structures in SC)

10. First 3 species in list given are not colonial cavity roosters

11. Bats swarm

12. In winter, tree bats are in the leaf litter.

13. Red bats are common in the Piedmont, won’t use a bat box

14. WNS is easily detected in early spring but no treatment. Look for flying in the cold and daylight, and bats dying.

15. Lifespan of a bat is 10-15 years.

16. Bats are slow to reproduce and only have pups once a year. They don’t usually mate the first year.

17. Female mortality rate is higher.

18. Bats in Europe are not dying from WNS.

19. Gray bats are expected to become the first species to become extinct; already endangered; go in caves for breeding and wintering.

20. Bats are true hibernators. They can delay ovulation and implantation. Bats can delay pregnancy.

21. No fruit eating bats in SC; SC bats only eat insects.

22. Big brown bats are great for eating agricultural pests.

23. Predators of bats include snakes, owls, bluejays

24. Check out website of Bat Conservation International

25. Recommended Book: Rocky Road to Nowhere (about the Stumphouse Tunnel)

Next Bill Dillard came to talk to us about Stumphouse Tunnel and the history of it. He was in the first master naturalist class.

Bill was the descendent of William Welch who was a contractor/engineer of Stumphouse Tunnel.

Prior to the Civil War, South Carolina was the wealthiest state in the nation. The railroad made a huge impact on the economy.

The tunnel never was finished.

I know that students in the classroom would really enjoy learning about bats. Students of all ages are fascinated by them. I think having a speaker like we did would really help bring this topic to life in a classroom and being able to visit their habitat makes it even more real. Of course, no one can guarantee that you would find any bats because it wasn’t our lucky day. We didn’t get to see any this time because it wasn’t cold enough for the bats to see shelter in the tunnel.

(Please check back Tuesday for Part 2 of my notes and on Wednesday for a message from Boris the Bat)

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

1 comment:

Sioux Roslawski said...

Your post was full of fascinating facts about bats. I did not know they lived for that long. That really surprised me!

It sounds like it's a great class you're involved in.