The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has installed a first-of-its-kind gate to wall off a bat hibernacula that will help to mitigate the spread of white nose syndrome in Maine bats, which is often unwittingly spread by humans into their habitats. Spores carried on our clothing or shoes gets on surfaces in the cave, and bats then pick it up on themselves. In fact, it's illegal in Maine to enter a bat habitat from October 1st - April 30th, to help keep contamination down.

White nose syndrome is caused by a fungus that irritates the bats during their hibernation process, causing them to wake up and be active for a period of time. When this happens, the hairy little night birds start blazing through their fat reserves for the winter. If they don't hibernate properly, they will essentially starve to death over the winter.

These gates will help keep humans and larger animals out of their spots, but keep the environmental conditions just the same as ever. Since the spaces are so large, the bats will be able to move about freely. All this is important because bats are finicky creatures, and don't bounce back quickly, population-wise. Females only have one baby at a time, so they are super slow to recover, so a bit of prevention goes a long way toward rebuilding their numbers.

Photo: Maine IF&W

Probably some of you could care less about the bat population. But remember, in the summer time, two of their chief food sources are mosquitoes and black flies. Keeping them around is always going to be in our best interest. Besides, the old wive's tale about flying into your hair and all that is crap. And they'll always do everything they can to avoid coming near you. So, it's time to just chill out bub!!! And stay out of their house!