Tonight we learn a little about an animal that is often misunderstood and maligned, and a disease that is decimating their numbers. PNM’er Dennis Shaffer talked with David Drake, a wildlife ecologist with the UW-Madison, and with Melissa Behr, a veterinary pathologist in the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at UW-Madison. Did you know that Wisconsin has seven species of bats, and all of them are voracious insect eaters? They eat all kinds of insects, but especially love mosquitoes. Three of the species migrate south for the winter. The other four stay in Wisconsin to hibernate over the winter huddled together in masses mostly in caves. But White-nose syndrome, a fungus, infects the bats during hibernation, waking them from their torpor and causing them to burn needed fat reserves. By Spring, the infected bats die of either dehydration or malnutrition. The first sign of White-nose appeared in Grant County, and this year it has been found in Door County.
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Perpetual Notion Machine is a look at contemporary scientific issues and discoveries in a way that is accessible, understandable and entertaining to the non-scientists of the listening community.