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As the world warms, it’s not just people who are feeling the heat. Bats are also susceptible to extreme heat, and overheated bat boxes can be “a death trap,” the Guardian reports.
In the wild, bats move between rock and tree crevices in search of a perfectly moderated temperature. One study found that a colony of bats used 72 different roosts to stay comfortable over the course of a single summer. However, habitat loss and fragmentation has destroyed much of their natural habitat and roosts. People have built them artificial homes — bat boxes — as a replacement. The boxes are beneficial, especially for young bat pups to develop, but they are on average warmed than ambient temperatures.
Why This Matters: Bats are important to human life: their appetite for insects helps control crop pests and reduce the need for pesticides. They help pollinate plants and disperse seeds. Studies have estimated that their pest control services are worth billions of dollars.
After surviving years of habitat destruction and extermination, extreme heat caused by the climate crisis is now their biggest threat. Researchers around the world are noticing overheated bats struggling to cope with the heat, especially in bat boxes. Of course, the reason why bats need boxes built by humans in the first place is because their natural habitats have been destroyed. Leaving more land wild would both create more natural roosts for bats and help regulate rising temperatures.
The global bat plight: Extreme heat has been deadly for bats around the world.
Manchester, UK: 63 pipistrelle bat pups were rescued last summer after they fell from an overheated building roof. “Every year, temperatures are rising a bit more and we are reaching a critical phase where heatwaves are becoming at a level that is a danger for bat populations,” Orly Razgour, senior lecturer in ecology at the University of Exeter, told The Guardian.
Building a better bat box: The current style of bat box might be a tiny oven, but researchers are testing new models to make them more climate-ready. These home improvement projects include adding a chimney or a water chamber and painting the boxes in lighter, heat-reflective colors. It would also help to mimic the bats’ preference for having multiple roosts: installing boxes in different levels of sun and shade can help provide the space they need at a comfortable temperature.
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer The ocean is warming, and marine life is moving to survive. Tropical waters around the equator were the richest with species, but it’s now too hot for some of them to survive, according to a new study. Looking at 48,661 marine species, the study found marine life drops off […]
I (Monica) am feeling a bit of ocean optimism these days, and videos like this are definitely fueling it. I have actually been whale watching with the California company that posted this video from a March 19th trip, but we did not observe anything quite like this! It’s a pretty rare occurrence to see thousands […]
We will fully admit to being whale crazy! And we have been watching the North Atlantic Right Whale population over the last few years of its decline to only about 360 remaining. Which is why this good news is so, well, great! Calving season just ended and it appears that there have been 18 births […]
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