Little brown bats found with white-nose syndrome in Colorado

It’s the second bat species in the state known to have contracted the disease

A pair of little brown bats have been found infected with the deadly white-nose syndrome in Colorado. It is the second species in the state known to have contracted the fungal disease.

The state Wildlife Health Lab confirmed the disease after receiving a bat on March 5 that was collected by a wildlife rehabber in the town of Longmont. Two weeks later, a second little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) was confirmed with the disease in nearby Boulder.

The fungus that causes white-nose syndrome was previously spotted in three little brown bat summer roosts in the state, but none of the bats had previously been confirmed as sick with the disease.

White-nose syndrome was first discovered in Colorado in March 2023 in a Yuma bat (M. yumanensis) collected by the National Park Service near La Junta. While the fungus has been found elsewhere in the state, these are the only three bats known to have contracted the disease.

Dan Neubaum, species conservation program manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said the recent discovery was “unfortunate” but not surprising given the spread of the disease among bat species in other states.

Of the 19 bat species native to Colorado, at least 13 are believed to be susceptible to the disease.

White-nose syndrome was first documented in New York state in 2006. Since then, it has been confirmed in 12 North American bat species in 40 states and eight Canadian provinces. 

Read more from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Header Image: A little brown bat's wing fluoresces in yellow-orange due to the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome. Credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife