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The Green Life: Unknown Danger: Colorful Bat

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April 04, 2012

Unknown Danger: Colorful Bat

Polar bears and giant pandas receive a lot of attention in conservation circles — and rightly so, since these adorable animals need protection. But what about all the creatures that aren't so popular or endearing? This week, we'll take a look at some little-known species that also need some serious help.

Hoary bat

Hawaiian Hoary Bat

This large bat, which is the only endemic land mammal in Hawaii, receives its name from its unique gray-white markings. They line a dark brown, cream, and mahogany coat. Also known as the 'ope'ape'a, the Hawaiian hoary bat can race at speeds up to 60 mph while chasing insects during the night. Biologists have had a difficult time tracking their numbers because of their solitary roosting in trees or rock crevices and their complex flight patterns, but the population likely ranges somewhere between several hundred and several thousand. Lately, the bats have been missing from some of their historically populated haunts. Habitat loss, pesticides, and predators threaten the 'ope'ape'a. The bats are most often spotted on the islands of Hawaii and Kauai and have been documented both at high elevations near volcanoes and at low ones near forests by the ocean. 

Read more: Is it just us, or does this recently discovered bat resemble Jedi Master Yoda? 

--photo courtesy of FWS

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