WNCTIMES ODDITIES -- The following North Carolina Odditie we found @ Atlas Obscure Date August 14, 2019 By Sabrina Imbler.
North Carolina’s Abandoned Gold Mines Don’t Have Gold, But Do Have Bats
A deadly disease could devastate these thriving colonies of winged critters.
Etchison says there’s no telling when the bats colonized the mines. They may well have been around since the mines were first abandoned in the 19th century. As it turns out, gold mines are exceptional surrogates for the caves that bats use as hibernacula, or places to overwinter and hibernate. In North Carolina, natural caves run pretty small. “Most of the time, it’s a little more than a rock shelter. You have to army crawl and drag your legs behind you,” Etchison says. So with the gold mines, the bats of the Tar Heel state found a new and palatial roost.
After Conrad Reed struck gold, more than two hundred years ago, his family used the large nugget as a doorstop.