Colorado bats surviving die-off |

Colorado bats surviving die-off

Matt Terrell
Vail CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Bats are mysteriously dying off by the tens of thousands in the northeastern United States, but the unknown ailment killing those bats hasn’t been a problem in Colorado.

Wildlife officials haven’t noticed any large bat “die-offs” in Colorado this year said Tyler Baskfield with the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

“We haven’t seen any kind of a bat die off. It can happen from time to time, but there have been no massive die offs in Colorado this year,” Baskfield said.

Scientists don’t know for sure yet what killed hibernating bats this year in New York, Vermont and Massachusetts, according to Bat Conservation International. Wildlife officials are calling it “white noise syndrome,” referring to the visible rings of white fungus found around the dead bats’ faces.

The bats could be dying from a virus or bacteria, because of warmer temperatures affecting their food supply or toxic materials they’ve ingested.

Bats are an important animal in Colorado, and people seem to have a fascination with them, Baskfield said.

“We have good bat populations in Colorado, and they tend to be one of those animals that draw a lot of interest out of people,” Baskfield said. “They enjoy watching them, sitting by a mine at dusk and watching them fly out.”

When the West Nile Virus began appearing in Colorado, the Division of Wildlife began encouraging people to build “bat houses,” which give bats new places to live and helps the population grow. Bats love eating mosquitos, and can be a good way to naturally control mosquitos, Baskfield said.

There are tens of thousands of bats in Colorado, and they hang out in the places you typically associate with bats ” caves and mine shafts.

– There are 18 species of bats in Colorado.

– Bats eat mostly insects.

– Bats are the only mammals that can truly “fly.” Flying squirrels, which glide, don’t really count.

– Bats have the ability to “echolocate,” or use sonar to guide themselves in flight.

– Bats have long had a bad reputation as being evil. Aesop, in several of his fables, personified bats as unscrupulous liars. Ancient Mayan art depict bats as gods of darkness and the underworld.

To learn more about Colorado bats, visit

Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 970-748-2955 or

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