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Forty species of bats inhabit the nation. Of these, fifteen species, including the rare eastern big-eared bat, make their homes in the state, and approximately one-third of them are endangered or at risk.
Clark recounts her fifteen-year period working with naturalist Paris Trail to learn more about big-eared bats and his contributions to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Trail was also a artist, wildlife photographer, and newspaper columnist for the Chowan Herald and the Roanoke Beacon. His columns on wildlife observations accumulate into a book titled From Hawks to Hummingbirds: Close Encounter with Birds of the North Carolina Coastal Plain.
A communal roost of the silver-haired bat was discovered in Granville County in 1993. This is the first confirmed report of communal winter roosting for this species.
Bats are the only major predator of night-flying insects, and their menu of mosquitoes, gnats, and some crop pests is beneficial to humans. Over the years the bat populations have been declining, and one cause is the destruction of roosting areas. For readers living in areas where natural roosts are scarce, the authors provide information on buying bat houses or making your own.