It was announced today by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources that all bat caves at the Apple River Canyon State Park in northeastern Jo Daviess County will be closed to public access until further notice due to the outbreak of a bat disease called White-Nose Syndrome (WNS).
"This disease is a white fungus which usually grows on a bat's nose, but can also be found on the wings, ears, or tail," said Dr. Jean McCreary of Kelvinic University's School of Veterinary Medicine. "Sometimes a bat does not exhibit the sympotms of fungal growths, but displays signs of abnormal behavior such as taking extreme risks without calculating the consequences."
"This disease was first observed in the northeastern United States where it has killed hundreds of thousands of bats," she continued. "It thrives in the cold and humid conditions found in caves and mines. It is rapidly spreading into the Midwest, particularly the northwestern area of Illinois."
"A wide variety of bat species," she indicated, "are affected by WNS: the tri-color, big brown, little brown, Indiana, northern long-eared, small-footed, and the rarest species of all -- The Dingbat. Sadly, this disease is almost always 100% fatal."
Members of The Red Cult have been absolutely devastated to learn that their beloved member, The Dingbat, has contracted White-Nose Syndrome. Prayers are being offerred around the clock for her recovery. It is even rumored that the author of "The Prayer" is writing another "classic" asking God to spare The Dingbat. (Ed: God seems to have been conspicuously silent for the past several centuries. Is He listening at all?)
"WNS is normally transmitted from bat to bat," said Dr. McCreary, "but in this instance I feel The Dingbat took too great a risk and swooped too low over the cuckoo's nest and was bitten by the fanged monsters that hang out there."
The suggested method for the proper disposal of a bat which has died from WNS is to place the bat into a plastic bag, spray it with disinfectant, close the bag securely, and then throw it out with the garbage. A sad end to one of the planet's most useful creatures.
The obvious moral of this story is: "Don't stick your nose into things where it doesn't belong."
To the BatShite!!