April 6, 2016| Wildlife
Mark Twain put Hannibal, Missouri, on the map. The tranquil landscapes of his boyhood town on the Mississippi River served as inspiration for the backdrop of his classic American novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. But Hannibal now has another famous resident—the endangered Indiana Bat. 

At the southern border of Hannibal, bat biologists from the Missouri Department of Conservation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that an extensive network of mines and caves, like those immortalized in Twain’s novels, provided essential hibernating habitat for an estimated 168,000 Indiana bats—approximately one-third of all the Indiana bats known to exist. No other bat hibernaculum of this size occurs anywhere else in the world. Prior to this discovery, experts presumed that all Indiana bats hibernated further south and in considerably smaller numbers, changing what we know about the species.