Experimental Artificial Bat Cave Completed in Tennessee

September 19, 2012 / Tennessee, United States, North America

An artificial bat cave under construction near Clarksville, Tennessee has been completed.

Built as an experiment to try to help bats who are struggling with white-nose syndrome, the man-made cave intends to provide a safe clean home, free of disease.

A project by the Tennessee chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the 24 meter (78 foot) long artificial cave has been constructed out of prefabricated concrete. It features textured walls and ceilings for the bats to cling to as well as a special bat entrance and a secure human entrance.

The intent is that every spring after the bats leave, scientists will enter the cave to disinfect it in order to keep the spore count of the geomyces destructans fungus, the cause of WNS, below lethal levels.

In order to coax the bats to relocate from nearby Bellamy Cave, a natural hibernaculum about 45 meters (150 feet) away which recently began showing signs of WNS, recordings of the ultrasonic bat calls are going to be broadcast from the artificial cave.

Although there is room for 200,000 bats, for the time being the hope is to attract some 10,000 to 15,000 bats.

Artificial Bat Cave: A Radical Idea to Save America’s Bats [The Nature Conservancy] & To the bat cave! US conservationists hope bunker can halt deadly fungus [The Guardian] & Artificial Montgomery County shelter has potential to save bats [The Tennessean]

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