One of five in a series on the wildlife of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Like elsewhere in the country, little brown bats in the Smokies are at risk from the devastating White-Nose Syndrome. The disease has wiped out bats at about a 45% mortality rate per year since it was discovered in 2006, and little brown bats are particularly susceptible because they hibernate in caves where the fungus grows. The disease does not affect humans, but they can transfer fungus on footwear, clothing, and gear, leading the National Park Service to temporarily close off the Whiteoak Sink hiking area.
Being nocturnal predators, all species of bats play an important role in reducing pests that are active at night (such as mosquitoes), and pollinating night-blooming plants. Guano (bat poop) also fertilizes barren cave floors, allowing microorganisms and entire food chains to flourish. Unfortunately, until remedies for White-Nose Syndrome are discovered, the future of cave-dwelling bats is very much up in the air.
This is a gallery-quality giclée art print on 100% cotton rag archival paper, printed with archival inks. Each art print is listed by sheet size and features a minimum one-inch border.