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Bat, not seen since 1940s, found in Connecticut

January 7, 2019

When the tiny, newborn bat was found clinging to a basement window screen in the Eastern part of the state, wildlife rehabilitators didn’t think it had much of a chance to survive.

At the time, the bat weighed about the same as three paper clips, according to a release from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and it wasn’t expected to live very long.

The bat had been separated from its mother for three or four days and was clinging to life as precariously as to the screen on which it was found.

First DEEP Master Wildlife Conservationist Maureen Heidtmann made sure the bat was hydrated and fed, caring for it for about a month. Then bat rehabilitator Linda Bowen took over and by mid-September, the bat was healthy and fully grown.

And something of a surprise.

The bat turned out to be an eastern small-footed bat, the smallest bat species in the eastern United States and the first of its kind confirmed in Connecticut since the 1940s.

Bat populations are monitored in Connecticut, and the eastern small-footed bat has been victim to human encroachment on its hibernation sites and the deadly fungus called white-nose syndrome like many bat species.

The small-footed bat hadn’t been seen in the state since the 1940s, but their presence were inferred through the use of bio-acoustic data.

The data was unconfirmed, however, until that tiny, baby bat was found.

Since then, DEEP said that acoustic data has shown several “hot spots” in the state, suggesting that the baby bat heralding the return of the species to Connecticut.

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