Samples of brown and white fat from hibernating bats (big brown bat, Eptesicus fuscus; little brown bat, Myotis lucifugus; and eastern pipistrelle, Pipistrellus subflavus) collected in western Maryland, USA, were analysed to determine lipid and DDE content. Amounts of brown fat, expressed as percentages of total bat weight, were the same for all three species. Lipid content of brown fat was significantly less than that of white fat. Lipids of brown fat contained significantly higher (28%) concentrations of DDE than did lipids of white fat. In our mixed-species sample of 14 bats, concentrations of DDE increased exponentially in both brown and white fat as white fat reserves declined. Brown fat facilitates arousal from hibernation by producing heat through rapid metabolism of triglycerides. The question is raised whether organochlorine residues, such as DDE, may be concentrated and then liberated in lethal amounts by the processes of hibernation and arousal.