Sneak Peek: Gazing Deeply – The Art and Science of Mammoth Cave

In honor of the bat-tastic fall season, we’ve put together some “Bat Facts” from our upcoming exhibit, Gazing Deeply: The Art and Science of Mammoth Cave, courtesy of our friends at Bat Conservation International.

Bats account for about 20% of all mammal species, making bats the second largest group of mammals in the world!

The world’s smallest mammal is the bumblebee bat of Thailand, an endangered bat that weighs less than a penny.

Tequila is produced from agave plants that, in the wild, rely on bats as their primary pollinators.

Scientists have concluded that insect-eating bats save U.S. farmers a minimum of $3.7 billion each year by reducing crop damage and limiting the need for pesticides.

A researcher inspects a gray bat for signs of White-Nose Syndrome, a disease and primary factor in Indiana bats and gray bats becoming endangered. Both are residents of Mammoth Cave National Park. (Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.)

There are three bat species that only drink blood: the common vampire bat, the rarer hairy-legged vampire bat, and white-winged vampire bat. The latter two prefer birds, while the common is often seen snacking on livestock like horses and cows.

Vampire bats are social creatures, sharing food with less fortunate roost mates who are hungry.

Bats are exceptionally vulnerable to extinction, in part because they are among the slowest-reproducing mammals on Earth for their size. Most produce only one pup per year.

White-nose Syndrome is a devastating disease of hibernating bats that has cause the most precipitous decline of North American wildlife in recorded history. At Mammoth Cave, nearly 95% of the bats have died in the past 4 years.

Gazing Deeply explores how scientists and artists are working together to study, interpret, and inspire action on preserving Mammoth Cave National Park. Coinciding with the UNESCO Conservation of Fragile Karst Resources: A Workshop on Sustainability and Community and Earth Day’s 50th anniversary in 2020, this exhibition is a collaborative effort between arts and science faculty and students that highlights one of the most well-known and vital natural landscapes in the world. Gazing Deeply is curated in partnership with Dr. Chris Groves (WKU Geology), Julie Schuck (WKU Art), and Dr. Rick Toomey (Mammoth Cave National Park).

Want to support this exhibit? Make a gift online here.

Published by kentuckymuseumwku

The Kentucky Museum is located in the Kentucky Building on the campus of Western Kentucky University. The Museum houses several changing exhibits. There are a variety of partnerships, services, opportunities, workshops, camps and other outreach provided to the public each year.

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