Hoary Bat Facts: Scientists Find First Direct Evidence Of Hibernation

By Rodney Rafols , Oct 30, 2016 11:43 PM EDT

Many animals hibernate especially once winter approaches. This is a survival method of several animal species in the lean winter months when food is scarce. Many species of bats hibernate, though it is not usual that they migrate and also hibernate. Adding to the list of hoary bat facts is that they both migrate and hibernate.

The hoary bat is a migratory bat species. It spends months and hundreds of kilometers to move from one place to the next. Its eventual target is California's northern coast. Migratory bats aren't known to hibernate while on the move though. The hoary bat is different, as unlike other bats it spends much of the winter in hibernation.

Migratory bats move on in order to find better feeding grounds during the winter. Other migratory animals do the same. Lead author Ted Weller, an ecologist from the Forest Service, said that their research showed the hoary bats aren't as active as other migratory species.

To study the bat's behavior, they were fitted with GPS sensor. Weller said that GPS sensors have now become small enough to fit the bats. Through the GPS sensor they were able t monitor the bats' behavior.

Through the GPS sensor, the researchers were able to monitor the bats' body temperatures and activities, according to the Pacific Southwest Research Station site. One of the bats fitted with it showed that it had a period of lowered body temperature and activity. This happened from November 2014 until April 2015. This showed that for a time the bat had spent its time in hibernation.

Hoary bats likely hibernated because they lived in trees instead of caves, as Weller speculated. The hoary bat was likely made to hibernate, but if it did that in its habitat it would freeze, so it would migrate to find a place to hibernate. For the hoary bat, a place such as the Redwoods would be a good place for hibernation, as Science Daily reports.

The study of the hoary bats' hibernation behavior could be useful in the conservation efforts being made. With the addition of hibernation to hoary bat facts, researchers can learn better what its behaviors are. Earlier a migratory bird has also set a new record, as the common swift bird makes an historic flight.

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