It has been said that bats are the realization of the Fairy of the Wood, keeper of the caves, custodians to the secrets of the night. And so it was on a hot August night in 2009, like a heavenly angel descending through the darkened sky, came Ethereal. One of the rarest bats in the entire world, a completely white (albino) micro bat, seen approximately once every 7-10 years by those involved in the world of bats.
Ethereal was found seeking refuge at Bat World’s wild sanctuary, scampering and slipping as she tried to make her way across a beam. She was thin, under-nourished and in poor condition. She was quickly recovered from the beam and brought into the hospital at Bat World. She is only a juvenile, petite and gentle; not yet full grown, but her personality is already distinctive.
Albino bats are easy prey for predatory birds and other nocturnal creatures. Because there is an owl perched near the wild sanctuary, Ethereal is an effortless target. We decided to take her into protective care, where she can live her life without fear of predators.Little or no research has been done into albinism in bats, with discovered specimens almost nonexistent. Unfortunately, albinos are not as long lived as other mammals and are predisposed to health problems. In captivity Ethereal is likely to live a much longer life than in the wild. More importantly, her safety will be assured. She loves the mealworms that she is currently being hand-fed, delicately chewing, and taking her own time as she gratefully blinks her bright pink eyes, a constant reminder of her uniqueness.
In some species, albinos are shunned by their peers, but apparently this is not the case with free-tail bats. Without hesitation Ethereal was accepted by the other non-releasable free-tail bats at Bat World Sanctuary. Ethereal now spends her nights flying through an expansive flight cage until her heart’s content – in complete and protected safety.