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SD Bat May Make The Endangered Species List

Dr. Kristen Page
Biology Dept, Wheaton College

A small bat could be one of the next animals in the state to make the Endangered Species List. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering listing the northern long-eared bat, the species was decimated by “White-Nose Syndrome” in the eastern United States.   

 Joel Tigner owns the company Bat Works in Rapid City.  He does biological consulting on bats and their habitat.   Tigner says northern long-eared bat sometimes establishes maternity roosts in buildings, such as old barns.  He says, killing bats doesn’t really get rid of them. Because more bats may just come roost in their place. Rather he says it’s best to seal up the building after the bats  leave in the fall so they will find a new home in the spring.

“Bats typically in South Dakota, especially this species, is not a bat that is going to roost year around--at least in wood frame structures. They would move out in the fall, says Tigner.  "And ideally the time to do the exclusion is after the young of the year are flying and have left for the winter and then to seal up before they come back the following spring," he adds.

Tigner says bats play a very important role in controlling mosquitoes and agricultural pests.   He says a small bat can eat its body weight in insects every night.  

Tigner points out that in-general bats only give birth to one offspring per year.  So their rates of regeneration are not the same as other small mammals that have large litters.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service extended the decision on adding the northern long-eared bat to the Endangered Species List to April of 2015.  The public now has an extra 60-days to comment on the proposal.

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