Tag education

Saskatchewan: Corner Gas and Little Brown Bats, Hooray!

Today’s blog is dedicated to the people of Saskatchewan, Canada. I was very sad to hear about the terrible accident last weekend. I know this is a very difficult time for the people of Saskatchewan and for many people throughout Canada. Please know that my thoughts are with you. I hope you all had a good week! I am happy to report that I get to enjoy a long weekend! Friday was the end of the 3rd quarter at school, so we had an early release and we get to stay home Monday! Isn’t that amazing? I plan on sleeping late and going shopping. This week, I researched bats of Saskatchewan. They have 8 species of bats there. Many of the bats they have there are the same species that we have here in Virginia. There is one special little bat that they have that is no longer found here in Fairfax, Virginia. That’s right! The people of Saskatchewan are lucky enough to still have little brown bats. They have little Lucys flying in the night sky! Sadly, all of our little brown bats have passed away due to White Nose Syndrome. I was happy to discover the little brown bats who call Saskatchewan home are doing well. For those of us who have never been lucky enough to see a little brown bat flying around, they are adorable. They have yellowy-brown to light brown fur and are smaller than big brown bats. If these bats are able to avoid WNS, they can live up to 33 years. That makes them one of the longest lived mammals for their size. If you want to learn more about little brown bats, you can find information on the Save Lucy Website:  http://virginiabats.org. And now, I am happy to announce that this Tuesday, […]

A Bat for Mrs. Brown

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week. I had an awesome one because it was my spring break. I got to sleep late every single day! It was nice to be able to relax and not have to get up early for school. But, I think I’m lucky that I get to go to school. There are a lot of people who aren’t so lucky. One girl who fought for the right to go to school was Linda Brown. Ms. Brown passed away this week at the age of 75, but when she was only 9 years old, she became the center of a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court. Linda Brown was the brave little girl who fought for her right to go to school. Thanks to Linda Brown and her case, Brown vs. the Board of Education, all kids in this country have the right to go to their neighborhood schools. So, in honor of that little 9-year-old girl and the many others like her, I researched an adorable little bat from her home state of Kansas.  There are 15 different species of bats that live in Kansas. The Cave Myotis bat is a medium sized bat. It has brown or black fur on its back and lighter fur on its underside. This little bat has short, pointy ears. The adorable Cave Myotis bat is true to its name and loves roosting in caves. They will also live in mines, rock crevices, abandoned buildings, barns and even under bridges. If the bats can’t find a cave to rest their wings in, they have been seen snuggled up in swallows’ nests. Despite the fact that these little bats live in caves they have been very lucky and have not suffered the effects […]

Bringing a fungus to light, or vice versa…

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week. I was sad on Thursday because it had snowed the night before, and I STILL HAD SCHOOL!!! There was at least half a millimeter of snow on the cars when I woke up in the morning. The sidewalks were damp. It was obvious to all Fairfax County Public School students that there should at least be a delay. I mean, they’ve cancelled school for less in the past. But, nothing! I had to go to school on time! The injustice of it all was overwhelming! Ok, I feel better now… I have some good news in the world of bats! Scientists might be on the verge of a breakthrough in eradicating White Nose Syndrome! As many of you know, the fungus most likely began in Eurasia, and the bats over there seem to be immune to it. The bats here in North America, however, are not. Little Brown bat populations have dropped 90 percent since White Nose Syndrome first appeared in New York. And, Tricolored and Northern-long Eared bat populations have dropped 97 percent. White Nose Syndrome even snuck its way west of the Rockies. There has been no news of any hope for a cure except for relying on time and evolution, until now. Hundreds of researchers have been trying for years to find a way to stop, or at least slow down, this deadly disease, with no luck. New research is beginning to show some hope of a solution. A study led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been looking into the genomics of the fungus that causes White Nose Syndrome. They have discovered that this fungus is missing an enzyme that allows it to repair its DNA after it’s been exposed to UV light. They are […]

No good sticky situation!

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week! Yesterday, it was so windy that they cancelled school and I got to stay home! I did the sensible thing and slept ’til noon. It was great! This week’s blog is a bit sad. It’s about something that needs to be said, but it makes me sad to think about it. This week’s blog is about glue traps. These traps are very harmful to animals. And I’m not just talking about the flies that people are trying to catch. These things hurt other animals, including bats. A glue trap is basically a piece of cardboard, fiberboard, or a plastic board that has been coated with an incredibly sticky glue. It is a sort of nontoxic way to control pests (the glue sometimes contains insecticide). The problem with these traps is that they catch animals indiscriminately and the animals that are caught cannot break free. I totally understand that people don’t want insects, mice, or snakes in their houses. But, these traps are cruel. Animals are stuck in these traps for hours or even days. These traps don’t only catch the intended animals, but they catch any animal that happens to come by. Whether the trap is inside or outside, it can catch birds and bats in addition to other animals. Earlier in the week, I saw a story about a Lesser long-eared bat that had been caught in a glue trap and couldn’t get free. A lot of microbats get stuck in these traps because they hear all the tasty bugs, and don’t realize there is a danger hidden underneath their dinner. The poor little bat struggled to get out of the trap so much that he dislocated one of the small bones in his wing, and ripped the tape […]

A magical land where foxes fly and bats are frosted!

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week! I have been enjoying the Olympics again this week. It has been fun to watch the ice skating, ice dancing, and skiing. Just like bats, I think there are some sports that aren’t getting nearly enough attention. For example, curling…what exactly is it? Since the Olympics are almost over, I’m starting to look forward to the 2020 Summer Olympics. They will be held in Tokyo, Japan. Japan has many different species of bats. They have both insectivore bats and fruit bats. The frosted myotis bat is a vesper bat that only lives in Japan. From its description, I think it must be an adorable little bat, but unfortunately, I was unable to find a picture of the little guy. Its back fur is brown with frosted tips and its stomach is a little lighter. It has velvety soft fur. The frosted myotis is very similar to the Yanbaru whiskered bat and the Burmese whiskered bat. It wasn’t discovered until 1969. This little bat likes to roost in tree hollows and is found in the mountain forests of lower elevations. Since it only lives on the islands of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu, this bat isn’t very common. It is listed as endangered. If you would like to read more about this little bat, you can find some information here. Another bat found in Japan is the Bonin flying fox. Other names for this bat are the Bonin fruit bat and the Ogasawara giant bat. This beautiful bat lives in the subtropical forests of the islands of Chichijima, Hahajima, North Iwo Jima, and South Iwo Jima. Its fur is mostly black and brown and it has some silver-tipped hairs mixed in. The hair around its head, neck, and shoulders is frizzy. They […]

And Norway takes the Gold for tiny cute bats!

Today’s blog is dedicated to the people of Parkland, FL. I hope the injured recover quickly and the people who lost loved ones find peace. Please know that my thoughts are with you. Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week! I have been enjoying the Olympics. I’ve watched it every day since the Games started last week. So far, Norway has won the most medals with a total of 19. In honor of the Norwegians performing so well, I thought I would research a bat that lives there. I found a very adorable bat called the Nathusius pipistrelle. The Nathusius pipistrelle bat is very similar to the common Pipistrelle, but it has a different echolocation call. Both calls can be picked up by bat detectors, so you can easily tell them apart. The Nathusius pipistrelle has pretty reddish-brown fur on its back and stomach, and darker brown fur on its face and tail. This bat lives throughout Western Europe from the Ural Mountains to Turkey and, of course, Norway. He likes to migrate from the Northern and Eastern areas or Europe to the Southern and Western areas of Europe in the winter time. Just like the bats I’m used to seeing here in Virginia, the Nathusius pipistrelle likes to eat insects. They roost in hollow trees and old houses with small crevasses for them to hide in. One interesting fact about this bat is that it was chosen to be the first “Bat Species of the Year” by Batlife Europe in 2015. This distinction helped the Nathusius pipistrelle gain attention throughout 30 countries in Europe who promoted conservation issues and public awareness of this adorable little bat. If you want to read more about this bat, you can find information here and here.  

Is Batwatching an Olympic sport yet?

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week! I am excited that I can watch the Olympics again! It’s always fun to see all the athletes doing amazing things. I also like seeing everyone getting along so nicely. It’s nice to see that athletes from countries that don’t always like each other are able to put their differences aside and participate in the Olympic Games peacefully. I am especially excited to see North Korea and South Korea participating together as one great team. In honor of the fact that the Olympics are being held in Pyeongchang, South Korea I decided to write about a Korean bat. There are several different species of bats that live in Korea, but sadly, it’s very hard to find information on them. I did find some information on an adorable little bat called the Northern bat. This little bat has short round ears that kind of remind me of a mouse. They have blackish-brown fur, with dark brown or goldish fur on the tip of its head and back. This cute little critter lives all throughout Eurasia, from Scandinavia to Northern Italy, and Eastern England to Northern Japan. It is mainly found in the northern part of the continent. Many people think that these bats live in one place year-round, but they really are just slow migrators and like moving over a period of years. These little bats eat insects and especially love eating Ghost moths. One interesting fact that I learned was that in high altitude areas of Eurasia, the female Northern bats actually fly during the daytime! They do this because of the short nights, but the best hunting is after dusk and before dawn.  If you would like to read more about these cute little bats, you can find information […]

Wings with a view!

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week! It was an eventful one. The week began with sad news out of Afghanistan. This week’s blog is dedicated to the people of Afghanistan. I hope the injured recover quickly and the people who lost loved ones find peace. My thoughts are with you. We finished off the week with a little groundhog telling us that we were going to have six more weeks of winter. First, I would like to express my sympathies to all the little groundhogs who were woken up from their comfy slumber to predict the weather. Second, I would like to request that Mother Nature listen to the little critter and give us some snow. We really haven’t had a good snow this year and I would like to build a snowman. And now for the bat news! I found a very interesting article about how some bats migrated into South America and Mesoamerica. Usually plants and animals migrate from the continents to islands, and apparently moving from islands to continents is practically unheard of. This is because there are fewer competitors for food and fewer predators on islands. Scientists studying fossil records of Short-faced bats of South America discovered that these bats most likely originally came from the Caribbean islands! From there, they colonized Mesoamerica and South America, where the species now happily lives. Since this is very unusual, scientists wanted to know why. They came up with two explanations. First, the Short-faced bat has a powerful bite. This might have helped them eat foods that other bats couldn’t. This allowed them to have a wider variety of foods that they could eat. Secondly, these bats had amazing wings! Their wings were semi-transparent, which enabled them to see their predators while they hid in […]

And a Happy New Year!

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week and a very Merry Christmas! I had an awesome Christmas and I got some really cool presents. I even got a brand new Save Lucy t-shirt! Since this will be my last blog post of the year, I thought it would be nice to look back at everything that happened in 2017. I know a lot of bad things happened in 2017. White Nose Syndrome continued to spread, sadly with no end in sight. There were hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires. More than half of Puerto Rico is still without power. Honestly, it’s been a rough year for a lot of people and a lot of critters. That said, some good things happened too. So, let’s focus on the good…  On January 24, Fiona the Hippo was born at the Cincinnati Zoo. She soon became an international internet sensation bringing joy to millions of people around the world. She is absolutely adorable! A 12 year old Romanian boy risked his life to save the life of a toddler who had become trapped in a pipe. There was a total solar eclipse seen throughout North America on August 21. There won’t be another seen on the continent until 2024. And in bat news, a new bat was discovered roosting in East Devon. The grey long-eared bat is rare to the UK. There are only about 3,000 of them, so this discovery was great news! More good news came out of Europe in 2017. Thanks to Europe’s strict laws protecting bats, it was found that European bats are making a comeback. Many bat populations on the continent have increased by 43% since 1993. And last but not least, Northern Long-Eared bats were found on the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts and coastal South Carolina. […]

A Christmas cookie bat!

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week. I am excited because it is almost Christmas!!! I love Christmas! I have been eating so many Christmas cookies that we need to make more to give to our neighbors! I learned an interesting Christmas fact the other day. In Australia, Santa’s sleigh isn’t pulled by reindeer. It’s pulled by kangaroos! I think it’s totally awesome of the kangaroos to give the reindeer a break for a little while. I’m sure that after flying around so much of the world, they are tired and appreciate the help of those kangaroos. Since the kangaroos are so helpful, I thought I’d look up some bats from Australia. You know I just love the little bat burritos down in Australia, but I found another adorable bat to talk about this week. It’s called the Chocolate Wattled Bat. It has chocolate brown fur on its back, and light brown fur on its stomach. It has a lobe on its lower lip that looks a little like a wattle. This bat also has the most adorable little nose. Its nose looks a lot like a pug dog’s nose! I have a pug dog, so I really like this bat’s nose. ? Chocolate Wattled bats eat a lot of insects. They really like chewing on moths. These cute little creatures live in the southern parts of Australia and in Tasmania. They are very common in Victoria, Australia. They live in forests, woodlands, and in farm areas. These bats also like to roost in tree hollows and in buildings. Their colonies are made up of 10 to 20 bats. If you would like to learn more about these adorable little Australian bats, you can find information here. I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!