Welcome to the bat cave

| 09 Mar 2012 | 11:18

    White Nose Syndrome, a fuzz that appears on bats’ noses, has migrated from Europe and is killing bats in droves. No one’s sure how the fuzz got into U.S. caves – the suspicion is that European cavers brought it in on their feet — but the cold-loving fungus is affecting the entire northeast and moving west. The authorities have responded by closing most bat caves in the Delaware Water Gap. So the Pocono Environmental Education Center built a simulation of a bat cave out of rebar, mesh and spray foam in what used to be the indoor swimming pool.

    Allison Owczarczak (left), a caver and the center’s environmental education coordinator, gave tours of the pitch black cave on Nov. 20, the day the exhibit opened after a year and a half in the making.

    Visitors donned headlamps and ducked through the serpentine crawl space to enter the cave, decorated with stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, and rimstone, and outfitted with audio of bat noises.

    Those light streaks (above) are the headlamps of the visitors as shown by a long camera exposure.