War on Fungal Growth: Law Enforcement Containment Procedures of White-nose Syndrome in Bats

Officer Biff T. Justice PhD1, Officer Nasty2 and MacBeth the Crime Dog

1 Cranberry-Lemon Law School/Head of Security/Bodyguard/Personal Trainer, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

2 Not an officer of the law it turns out.

3 Cranberry-Lemon Law Enforcement Mascot, Pittsburgh, PA, USA


Pseudogymnoascus Destructans, commonly referred to as Pd in the streets, is a fungus decimating America’s bat population. It causes the infamous White-nose syndrome (WNS) in most bat species and is deadly once it enters a cave or bat population. It spreads from cave-to-bat and bat-to-bat through social contact. As Pd originated in Europe and bats have not been known to migrate between Europe and America, it is assumed that this deadly substance is transported through a dangerous cartel transporting the elicit invasive fungus into our caves. This paper outlines and pretends to analyze 6 methods for halting the spread and effect of the deadly Pd into our country to save our bats! Despite early reports of Pd cartel activity hearsay, fungal infections are just really tough to get rid of and it had nothing to do with a corrupt system making drug money off of bats. 

Keywords:   White Nose Syndrome, Bats, Fungal disease, Getting the Drugs out of our Caves, Drug Enforcement

1. Introduction

There has never been anything as devastating to the bat community as WNS causing Pd in recorded bat history to include all Ozzy Osborn tours. It binds onto their communities and spreads from bat to bat slowly taking over their lives until it overcomes the poor creatures. They get a tell-tale white fungal residue as soon as they catch it. Most bats get a bad case of the Pd during the winter when there’s nothing to do and they can’t leave the cave [1]. Nothing else but to get hooked on deadly fungal spores! 

A bat holding a credit card

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Fig 1: Bat exposed to a line of deadly fungal spores.

Despite the danger, the bats keep spreading the stuff and it is a total mystery how it got there in the first place. Despite making it against the rules to carry the stuff into caves, Pd keeps finding its way into America’s underground networks and other bat habitats.

2. Pd laced dirt

The first means Pd seems to be getting into our cave communities is that it’s getting laced into the soil. Now most bats wouldn’t touch Pd straight if they knew what was good for them, but low and behold every year we have another bat OD’ing on Pd. They may think they can hide it, but a trained law professional can spot that white muzzle a mile away. One of the likely culprits is that Pd spores are getting laced into the soil [2]! I have it on good authority that if we begin regulating soil, we could ensure that only pure, untainted safe soil gets into our caves. 

3. Checkpoints and Border Patrol

This is an easy one, all we have to do is block all cave entrances to stop any incoming Pd from getting in. Using a strictly enforced checkpoint system and a fungus-sniffing dog named Chief. Every bat will have an ID which can be used to register and monitor incoming and outgoing bats. Don’t come at me about how bats don’t have IDs, such a claim is racist. Any strange bats try and enter a cave that’s not their home and the are immediately searched by Chief. He catches everything! Building a giant fence around all of the known cave entrances seems drastic but we’re at War! Now, this won’t stop everything from getting in, but it will stop a large portion of the Pd plaguing our bats.

A police dog with a police officer

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Figure 2: Chief and his handler Officer Chambley

 4. Follow the Money 

I don’t know who’s profiting off the Pd trade, but once I find out, they are screwed! Something with the name Pseudogymnoascus Destructans is too complicated and long to be natural, it has gotta come from a lab and it must be distributed by someone making money off the stuff. Once we find out where Pd’s produced, we’ll start twisting arms and cracking skulls till we find the top of the pyramid, the big dog, the Big Kahuna, The Lord Sovereign, Their Ultimate Leader, His Royal Highness, the Grand Poobah, the Head Honcho, the Overlord, dare I say, the President of the United States. When I find him, OR HER, there will be hell to pay! I will never rest.

5. Undercover agent

Our own Officer McNeal is a master of disguise. It may be hard to tell but Figure 3 is actually McNeal in disguise and not a bat. Once our own agent infiltrates bat culture, we’ll be in a prime position to catch those dirty scoundrels treating America’s caves like it’s a dumping ground for any old invasive fungus!

A person in a garment with wings

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Figure 3: Officer McNeal disguised as a bat.

6. Anti-Fungus Campaigns

Sometimes the simplest solution is also the most cost-effective, education. If bats knew the danger they face every time they come in contact with Pd or how easily it can screw up their life. Through an overly symbolic tragic play, MacBeth the Crime Dog can show the dangers of falling prey to getting messed up with some Pd until you’re all white in the muzzle. Don’t freak out if you see it, it’s just shaving cream, MacBeth knows what he’s doing.

7. Tougher Penalties for Possession

If checkpoints, a collapse of the Pd trade, or education won’t stop the spread, maybe jail time will. If the carrot doesn’t work, we must resort to the stick. After lobbying a network of states and local governments in the jurisdictions covering America’s largest cave systems, we’ve upped the fine of possession of a felony amount of Pd to thirty-plus years of jail time. Once we catch the troublemakers, maybe with Officer McNeal, we’ll separate the bad bats to save the good.  

A bat with wings spread out

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Figure 4: Courtroom sketch of a bat getting sentenced thirty years to life for possession of Pd

8. Results and Discussion

After we found that the Pd fungus grows naturally and spores are fairly difficult to control, we determined that any meaningful results were out of the scope of this paper.

As far as statistically insignificant unpublishable results and hearsay, there is no indication that any of these methods will work. While it was determined that there are Pseudogymnoacus Destructans spores in the soil of caves, there’s no way of determining a source or removing it. Additionally, there was no affordable way to board up every known entrance to a cave and check every bat’s IDs simply because all bats kind of look alike and easily flew around our checkpoints with no regard for the law. Finally, McNeal was immediately found out when a bat flew into his costume, and he really freaked out flailing about very unbat-like before running out of the cave in a panic. Finally, there was no education system or penal code that appeared to have any effect on the bats. The laws seemed to be unenforceable. To the point of the issue with the photo IDs, all bats look alike. There were too many false arrests and the massive incarcerations got PETA involved. 

9. Conclusion

White Nose Syndrome is a serious issue causing countless deaths and moral decay in all of America’s bat communities. Despite the advances in law enforcement, there’s no known way to stop the spread. The only thing you can do to help is stay out of closed caves to prevent the spread of hibernating bats and report dead bats to park authorities [3]. Remember, if you see something, say something. The Department of Homeland Security can’t stop us from using that one, they don’t own it.


  1. FOLEY, J., CLIFFORD, D., CASTLE, K., CRYAN, P. and OSTFELD, R.S. (2011), Investigating and Managing the Rapid Emergence of White-Nose Syndrome, a Novel, Fatal, Infectious Disease of Hibernating Bats. Conservation Biology, 25: 223-231. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01638.x
  2.  Jeffrey M. Lorch, Daniel L. Lindner, Andrea Gargas, Laura K. Muller, Andrew M. Minnis & David S. Blehert (2013) A culture-based survey of fungi in soil from bat hibernacula in the eastern United States and its implications for detection of Geomyces destructans, the causal agent of bat white-nose syndrome, Mycologia, 105:2, 237-252, DOI: 10.3852/12-207
  3. How to Help Bats Threatened by White-Nose-Syndrome National Parks Service :: https://www.nps.gov/articles/how-to-help-bats-threatened-by-white-nose-syndrome.htm

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Published by B McGraw

B McGraw has lived a long and successful professional life as a software developer and researcher. After completing his BS in spaghetti coding at the department of the dark arts at Cranberry Lemon in 2005 he wasted no time in getting a masters in debugging by print statement in 2008 and obtaining his PhD with research in screwing up repos on Github in 2014. That's when he could finally get paid. In 2018 B McGraw finally made the big step of defaulting on his student loans and began advancing his career by adding his name on other people's research papers after finding one grammatical mistake in the Peer Review process.

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