What's White-Nose Syndrome?

White-nose syndrome, caused by a parasitic fungus, is threatening to wipe out the North American population of bats. The deadly fungus grows on the wings and noses of bats and it's estimated that nearly 7 million bats have died as a result of the fungal disease since 2006 when the disease was first detected. The fungus interferes with a bat's ability to hibernate, causing them to wake up early, which depletes their precious fat stores and leads to devastating dehydration and starving. It's believed the fungus originally came from Europe and it's now confirmed in 26 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces. With a 90% mortality rate, the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome has caused the biggest decline in wildlife from an infectious agent in the past century.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. White-nose syndrome is a cold-growing fungus that has infected and killed millions of bats. 00:51

  2. White-nose syndrome causes bats to wake up during hibernation and burn off their energy reserves. 01:49

  3. Because some bats hibernate in large colonies, white-nose syndrome is easily spread between individuals. 02:19

Written by Curiosity Staff July 22, 2015

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