It’s not so much a home as a place for bats to bunker down for the winter. The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee spent $300,000 on an 80 foot-long artificial bat cave for the critters’ hibernation season.
This isn’t researchers thinking they can improve on nature, the concrete cave was built to help combat disease. At least seven species of bat have been hit by the deadly white-nose syndrome, a fungus that so far has killed an estimated 5 million bats over the last six years. And when the bats cluster together in caves to hibernate, the disease spreads even faster.
The benefit of the artificial cave is that after every winter workers with the Nature Conservancy can come disinfect the cave of the fungus. However, that won’t be necessary if the bats don’t show up.
So far the cave is empty, despite the conservancy playing recorded ultrasonic bat calls to lure the furry fliers in. If the cave is still unoccupied by early December, it will be vacant all winter.