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A federally-endangered bat species was just discovered in Greenville County

The gray bat is the first of its kind in SC. With this discovery, it could be one step closer to removal from the at-risk list.

GVLtoday Grey Bats

Gray bats have outlived their predicted extinction. | Photo provided by SCDNR

We’re absolutely batty about this news. A federally-endangered bat species, the gray bat (Myotis grisescens if you’re feeling fancy), was discovered in Greenville County. SC is home to 14 species of bats, but this is the first sighting of a gray bat in the state.

Gray bats have been found in Georgia + North Carolina (in the Blue Ridge area), but SC Department of Natural Resources state bat biologist Jennifer Kindel says they couldn’t fully study them because none had ever crossed into SC.

GVLtoday Grey Bats

Jennifer Kindel is playing peek-a-boo. | Photo provided by SCDNR

Kindel was in touch with bat biologists in NC who found gray bats mere miles from the NC + SC border over the past few years. She and her team attempted to net (using heavy duty netting made from U.V. mesh used to humanely prevent bats from entering unwanted areas) a 100-foot bridge where gray bat calls had been recorded, but no such luck.

Ever determined, Kindel decided to expand the search to shorter bridges with easier survey access. Lo and behold, she and her lead bat technician Helle Cavalieri found the first gray bat for SC in Greenville County. A total of four gray bats were ultimately recorded.

GVLtoday Gray Bats

“Hey, who turned on the lights?” | Photo provided by SCDNR

“Without a record of this species in the state it was difficult for biologists to obtain funding for systematic surveys, but now we hope to learn more,” Kindel tells the Post and Courier.

Gray bats were added on the endangered list in 1976 have outlived their predicted extinction (way to go, friends) but are still at-risk because the majority of their species live in just 15 caves. You can help protect these little guys and gals by not disturbing them. They need their beauty sleep too.