When the winter is upon us and nights are blistering cold, there is nothing more desirable than a soft, cozy bed to retire in for the evening. As for many warm-blooded animals out there, the same desire is shared; however, these critters are not just concerned about comfort, finding shelter from the harsh winter weather is also a vital tactic to their survival through the season. During these times, food is scarce and conditions are treacherous, so many animals find alternative means of survival. One such method is referred to as “hibernation.”
Several familiar species use hibernation, an instinctual strategy, to help them survive the harsh winter season. During hibernacula, torpor is induced while major metabolic changes take place for the purpose of survival, including a drop in body temperature and reduced heart and breathing rate. Animals like groundhogs, squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, bears, and even bats use hibernation to “pass the winter” by. (The word ‘hibernation” comes from the Latin word, “hibernare” which literally means “to pass the winter.”) Many animals hibernate, but bats in particular are natural experts.
One of the most common hibernating species of bat is called the Indiana bat, or Myotis Sodalis. The first of its kind was discovered in 1904, in Wyandotte Cave in Southern Indiana, hence the name “Indiana” Bat. Their scientific name, Myotis Sodalis, is quite fitting since “Myotis” means “mouse ears“, which happens to be an accurate depiction of the Indiana bat whose ears are small and mouse-like. The latter term, “Sodalis” means “companion“, which also fits because they are a very social and collective species. They form large colonies and cluster together when it comes time to hibernate.
An interesting fact about a bat’s hibernacula is that they accumulate and store a particular type of fat cells called “brown fat” on their backs, shoulder blades, and bellies. This helps them retain proper body heat and energy to survive the hibernation period. Unfortunately, they are an endangered species, so their winter survival has a lot at stake. They usually hibernate for a period of 6 months, and then emerge once late spring arrives. They move to their summer homes, usually in wooded areas.
But sometimes, overdevelopment can push bats out of their natural habitats, forcing them to find shelter elsewhere. This is how most bats become a nuisance problem for homeowners. If you have a bat problem in or around your property, contact a licensed bat removal company that practices safe, humane, and non-lethal bat exclusion services.
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