Researchers say placing heaters in caves could help bat populations afflicted with a mysterious and deadly disorder.
An ailment known as "white-nose syndrome" has killed some half million bats over the past three winters from New England to West Virginia.
In an article published online Thursday in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, biologists Justin Boyles and Craig Willis suggest that small heated boxes placed in hibernation caves could help some bats make it through the winter.
The researchers say the warmth could help stricken bats preserve enough precious energy to survive hibernation season.
White-nose syndrome has spread from a few caves in upstate New York to at least 55 caves in seven states. It's named for the white smudges of fungus on the noses and wings of hibernating bats.