The Little Brown Bat is a species that is well known and most common in Idaho. It is very small with an overall body size that is from 2.5 inches to 4 inches. They also weigh no more than half an ounce. The span of their wings when outstretched can be up to 11 inches. They are brown in color and they have ears which are short and round. The Little Brown Bat is the one that people are the most familiar with. There are more of them in the United States and Canada than of other species combined of bats. Those that live in colder regions including Alaska take part in hibernating during the winter. This can take up six months per year, so they aren’t always seen in the high numbers that are really out there.
Mosquitoes and moths are the majority of their diet in such an environment. They can consume up to half of their body weight each night when it comes to their eating habits.
Most of the time the Little Brown Bat will consume its meals while in flight.
They are known to eat insects off of the fur of other types of animals too. Humans observing such behavior often mistake these actions. They assume the bats are biting those animals but that isn’t the case. The use of echolocation allows them to easily find their prey in the dark.
When a Little Brown Bat doesn’t find enough food to eat on a given day, it will have to slow its body rate while sleeping during the day. This process allows it to conserve energy. Otherwise it may become too weak to be able to fly about and look for food the next night. Usually though they have no trouble finding enough food each night.
The young are born in either late June or early July. Typically only one young is born at a time. They grow very fast, consuming the milk from their mother’s body. They can’t fly at birth so they are vulnerable. This is why complete exclusion should be done during certain times of the year. By the time they are a month old though they are already self-sufficient members of the colony.
Histoplasmosis is a disease associated with bats. Its symptoms vary greatly, but the disease primarily affects the lungs. Occasionally, other organs are affected. When this happens it can be fatal if untreated.
In addition, Histoplasmosis is caused by a fungus that grows in soil and material contaminated with droppings from animals, including bats. Droppings, also known as bat guano, can contaminate the soil and cause infectious spores to be released when the soil is disturbed.
Even though it can be found throughout the world, it is widespread in certain areas of the U.S. and can be found in places that harbor large populations of bats, including caves.
While most infected persons have no apparent ill effects, antifungal medications are used to treat many forms of the disease.
Several highly fatal diseases have been linked to bats.
Rabies is perhaps the most well known disease associated with bats. Along with animals such as dogs, foxes, raccoons, and skunks, bats are one of the primary animals that transmit rabies.
An exposure to rabies most commonly occurs when a person is bitten by a rabid animal. It can also be transmitted when the saliva from a rabid animal comes in contact with a person's mouth, eyes, nose, or a fresh wound.
When a person is exposed to rabies, timely administration of a vaccine known as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) can prevent infection. Once a person becomes infected and symptoms begin to occur, rabies is almost always fatal. Each year in the United States, up to 30,000 persons receive PEP due to potential exposure to a rabid animal, including bats.
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