NEWBY NATURE NOTES:
by Billy Murray
What do birds and bats have in common? Eyes. Birds enjoy flying around and not bumping into things, but bats don't use their eyes for the same purpose. Bats use a type of radar in order to achieve the same result.
However, since the discovery of the white-nose syndrome in bats found living in Newby village, Isle of Wight, there is a possiblity that Newby schoolchildren are contributing to the spread of this disease.
WNS is a condition in bats which was first noted among dead and hibernating bats in caves in nearby Ryde in 2009.
Affected bats have a white fungus on their muzzles which makes them look as if they've been snorting cocaine.
Newby scientists are still trying to to determine the cause of this fungus. One theory is that local schoolchildren may have been sharing their sherbert dabs with these bats.
Until this disease can be brought under control, local shopkeepers have been asked to stop selling sherbert dabs.
Bats are most vunerable during hibernation when, it is believed, youngsters sneak up on the sleeping bats and stick their muzzles into their sherbert dabs. This theory, however, has yet to be proved.
Most Newby residents believe they'd be better off without the bats altogether. These people need to be educated. A village without bats would encounter devastating effects on its agrictulture.
Bats do play an ecological role in insect control and plant pollination. They also make tasty hors d'oeuvres when deep-friend and served on crackers.
So, if you see a bat outside in winter, when it SHOULD be hibernating please report it to the Newby Co-operative Wildlife Health Centre at 657 3876 0987, located above the Chinese Take Out on Lockington Street.
If you come across any dead bats, handle them with care as many are believed to be rabied. You can leave them with the owner of the Chinese Take Out, Mr. How Hi, and he will hand them over to the Wildlife Health Centre Personnel when he sees them.