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White-Nose Syndrome in Bats

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

White nose syndrome is an introduced fungal infection that’s exerting huge pressure on certain of our bat species. Some bats require a long and deep hibernation when their body functions slow down dramatically to conserve resources. When infected with this fungus, which concentrates on their faces, giving a white appearance to their nose, it irritates the bats, causing them to wake up and go outside looking for food. Of course, during winter in the upstate, hunting insects is a futile task. At Stumphouse Tunnel, the number of tri-colored bats dropped from 400 to thirty. In the past few years, however, Researcher Susan Loeb and her students, are seeing a slight rise in numbers. The bats are roosting closer to the front of the cave where the temperatures are lower and perhaps that helps keep the bats in deep hibernation.  

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.