Bats and Wind Energy – Your Voice Needed

Photo © Treehugger.com

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting information and ideas from the public on a proposal to develop a Habitat Conservation Plan for wind energy facilities in the Midwest.

Bats that will be affected include endangered species, such as the Indiana bat.

An automated letter is included below. If you’d rather not use the letter provided below, please submit your comments to:

Regional Director, Attn: Rick Amido
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services
5600 American Blvd. West, Suite 990
Bloomington, MN 55437-1458
Fax: 612/713-5292 (Attn: Rick Amidon)
Email: midwestwindhcp@fws.gov

The deadline for receiving comments is December 3, 2012.



Bats and Wind Energy

Dear Regional Director, Rick Amido:

I feel very strongly that a strategy to minimize harm to bats should be mandatory, such as changing cut-in speed to reduce bat fatalities, and avoiding the construction of wind turbines on ridges or other migration corridors, and building them less than 60m tall.

I’m certain you are aware of the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative (www.batsandwind.org). Several scholarly publications regarding curtailment options have been published there, including one which compared the operational cost of raising the minimum wind speed operation for turbine rotation and electricity generation. An article by Dr. Edward Arnett displayed that this curtailment option significantly reduced nightly bat mortality by as much as 90% but had a marginal cost to the utility of only 1% of their annual income. Another study found that ultrasonic deterrents similarly reduced mortality, though not to as great a degree as raising the minimum operational wind speed. I would like to see multiple mitigation methods used in areas where sensitive species might be harmed by wind turbines.

Careful planning of wind energy development is necessary to ensure its sustainability. For this reason I would like to see acoustic, visual and capture-release surveys at proposed wind farm locations whenever possible so that the need for mitigation actions in the future can be reduced. The FWS should create a standardized post-construction survey and reporting protocol for bat and bird fatalities at wind farms which includes daily searches for carcasses and searcher efficiency tests during peak activity and migration windows in areas with sensitive populations.

As a consumer of electrical energy, I would be willing to pay a marginally more expensive utility bill each month for such a reduction in needless death. One of the reasons why sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal energy are so popular with the public is that they are substantially less detrimental on our environment than carbon-emitting energy sources. While I feel that curtailment at low wind speeds and deterrents should be necessary at all wind farms, I particularly feel they should be enforced where endangered, threatened or migrating species occur.


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Lil Drac

Lil Drac is an orphaned short tailed fruit bat (Carollia perspicillata). He is also known as the “lil bat who rocked the world” after his video (below) went viral in November of 2011.

Lil’ Drac’s mother was yet another casualty from zoo closures which have occured across the US. She was a young mother who was stressed from the conditions in which she was kept, combined with the additional trauma of being captured and transferred to a new and unfamiliar environment. Consequently, she abandoned Lil Drac after he was born.

Lil Drac nursing
Lil’ Drac nursing formula from a foam tip. Click to enlarge.

He was found on the padded floor of the indoor flight enclosure at Bat World Sanctuary, curled up in a little ball. He was warmed, comforted and fed, then moved into an incubator so he would stay warm at all times. He quickly learned to nurse his milk formula from a foam tip and looked forward to feeding time. He also loved to groom his tiny body and stretch and flap his minuscule wings. Just a few days after he was rescued we learned that he liked to rock himself back and forth after he had eaten and after he had groomed.

Lil Drac wing stretch
Lil Drac stretching his wing.

When Lil Drac was old enough, he was slowly reintroduced back into the flight cage to be with other of bats of his own kind.

Lil Drac on thumb
Lil Drac falls asleep on his caretakers thumb. Click to enlarge.

He slept by day in the incubator, and was moved into a netted basket to spend his nights in the flight enclosure. The basket protected him and allowed him to feel safe while getting to know the other bats.

Lil Drac was given practice flight lessons and in a few weeks, when he was flying well enough, the netting over the basket was lifted so he could fly in and out at will.

Lil Drac now lives with his bat friends full time, and he still loves to rock himself.




Queensland-dontshootbatsThe Queensland, Australia government-sanctioned killing of two threatened species – Spectacled and Grey-headed flying-foxes, has enraged bat conservationists across the globe. The government banned the shooting of flying-foxes in 2008 after the Australian Animal Welfare Advisory Committee found it was inhumane.  However, fruit growers are now being permitted to shoot flying-foxes, despite its acknowledged cruelty.  To add insult to injury, Minister John McVeigh said “It’s important every Queenslander understands animal cruelty is never acceptable”.  Ironic since Minister McVeigh has not responded to bat conservationist’s emails and has not made one single move to stop this uncivilized, cruel kill, condoned by Campbell Newman, Premier of Queensland.

Four flying-fox species are being needlessly killed: Grey-headed (endangered), Spectacled (endangered), Black and Little red flying-foxes. Fruit growers can protect their crops far more effectively with nets, costing as little as $8,000 per hectare (or every 2.471 acres) and the government has a program in place to assist them with the expense, the Sustainability Loans Program.

The barbaric killing of these innocent animals is unacceptable. Bats are being used for target practice as they fly through the orchards.  The partially massacred bodies of these majestic creatures are retrieved and thrown into plastic bags while they are still breathing so that they may slowly suffocate.  In other situations, bat workers have found that the injured were not retrieved and were left to die over a 3-4 day period, victims of predators, insects, dehydration and blood loss.  This is the fate of the adults and the mothers who have newborn nursing young on them.  Still others, such as pups developed enough to remain in the camp but too young to fly, are left to die of dehydration and starvation while they innocently await the return of their mothers who have suffered an even worse fate.

We have contacted individual Ministers of the government to voice our concern and they are now responding with ‘lip service’ emails.  This means we must ramp up our efforts.  Stopping is not an option while innocent animals are being mutilated.  Please join our 30-day email campaign wherein we will email numerous Queensland government officials with our protests. We will boycott travel to Australia, as well as the purchase of any Australian product until they stop these barbaric killings.

It is incumbent upon bat conservationists and the environmentally concerned to have a voice that can be heard around the world.  Please join us to make this happen.  We want to make this easy on you in order for you to commit to the 30-day campaign without interruption.  It will only take a couple of minutes of your time each day; just a minute or two, to save these pure, blameless animals.  They have no one else but us and remember, alone we are but one voice, together we ROAR.


<Christine.McDermott@daff.qld.gov.au> <Premier@ministerial.qld.gov.au>; <thepremier@premiers.qld.gov.au>; <ashgrove@parliament.qld.gov.au>; <karen.cowell@premiers.qld.gov.au>; <daff@ministerial.qld.gov.au>; <govnet@qld.gov.au>; <Paul.Martyn@dtesb.qld.gov.au>;<legislation.queries@oqpc.qld.gov.au>; <Craig-Evans@qld.gov.au>; <Jack.Noye@daff.qld.gov.au>; <Kelvin.anderson@dcs.qld.gov.au>; <Danielle.Anderson@ehp.qld.gov.au>; <Tony.Roberts@ehp.qld.gov.au>; <Andrew.Chesterman@ehp.qld.gov.au>; <Dean.Ellwood@ehp.qld.gov.au>; <Tamara.OShea@ehp.qld.gov.au>; <toowoomba.South@parliament.qld.gov.au>; <environment@ministerial.qld.gov.au>; <Christine.Williams@derm.qld.gov.au>; <Glass.House@parliament.qld.gov.au>; <Dan.Hunt@deedi.qld.gov.au>;  <Michael.Birchley@derm.qld.gov.au>; <John.Glaister@nprsr.qld.gov.au>; <Tourism@ministerial.qld.gov.au>; <Terry.Wall@derm.qld.gov.au>; <Currumbin@parliament.qld.gov.au>; <steve.mcroberts@tq.com.au>; <South.Brisbane@parliament.qld.gov.au>; <growcom@growcom.com.au>; <qfarmers@qff.org.au>; <Jon.Grayson@premiers.qld.gov.au>;<Chris.Robson@derm.qld.gov.au>; <Barry.Broe@coordinatorgeneral.qld.gov.au>; <Richard.Eden@dtesb.qld.gov.au>

Please note that the following emails may now be nonfunctional. If you have updated addresses for the following please sent the information to sanctuary@batworld.org: ashgrove@parliament.qld.gov.au, toowoomba.south@parliament.qld.gov.au, glass.house@parliament.qld.gov.au, currumbin@parliament.qld.gov.au
inala@parliament.qld.gov.au, mackay@parliament.qld.gov.au,
south.brisbane@parliament.qld.gov.au;  Inala@parliament.qld.gov.au;    Mackay@parliament.qld.gov.au; Helen.Gluer@treasury.qld.gov.au;

Dear Queensland Official,

The latest ‘form letter’ response from Troy Collings, Chief of Staff, equals the Queensland government’s barbaric killing of flying foxes in absurdity. This is not a deliberate attempt to be offensive, but the response is insulting and offers nothing but empty comments about a devastating situation. One can understand how any failed conservation action is referred to as the “Australian Effect” and how the term originated.Mr. Collings states, “The Queensland Government recognises your concerns and believes it is taking the necessary action to minimise the damage to fruit crops caused by flying-foxes without compromising the welfare or long-term conservation of these animals”. You are killing endangered species!! If that is not compromising the welfare of the animal, what is?Queensland cannot possibly control the number of animals shot given the land mass over which the shootings take place nor can you prevent the ‘target practice’ shoots of flying foxes, leaving them to die an agonizing death over a 3-4 day period. Your barbaric plan cannot prevent the culling of lactating females who leave innocent, young, viable animals to starve to death nor does it accommodate the human response wherein farmer’s who overkill simply bury the evidence.This culling involves endangered species and yet you are trying to tell the world what you are doing is in the best interest of the farmers? This action does not mix well with the goals of Queensland’s 2012-2016n Strategic Plan to “ …maximize sustainable tourism growth for the social and environmental benefit of all Queenslanders.” On the contrary, dozens of people who planned tp visit Queensland have now decided against visiting there because of the barbaric culling of threatened bats currently taking place.

You have a feasible option for the farmers as well as the animals – netting. If you truly want to co-exist with the flying foxes instead of rendering them extinct, then your country would be better served financially if you did the same thing as the City of Austin, TX. They were going to eliminate the bats from the downtown area (viewed as a nuisance) because of the guano (and perceived health risk) until they were educated about the economic and environmental impacts of such a decision. Now Austin realizes $10-$15 million dollars a year in tourism due to the population of bats in that city (in excess of 2 million). It is called the Austin Bat Tour and people come from as far away as Europe (and yes, even Australia) to witness the nightly emergence during the summer months. They have learned to embrace the bats rather than victimize them. Your country would be better served financially if you did the same thing. Set up flying fox tours so people can be situated between a camp and a foraging ground to view the bats (in Austin they put bat channeling under the bridge to provide a roosting place for over 1.5 million bats), plant sacrificial crops for them to eat near their camps, advertise for donations for the appropriate crop protective nets used in orchards, via Facebook, animal welfare groups and apply for emergency animal welfare grants. You have organizations on the ground in Australia ready and willing to work with you.

Queensland is playing with the ecological balance of our planet at a time when we have reached the limits of our options. The response from Mr. Collings was disturbing and despicable, and has made conservationists even more determined to fight your actions and let the world know that Australia murders its native species when there are benign solutions available. Consequently, I will be spreading the word to tourism groups, humane societies, and environmentally conscious people around the world to boycott travel to Australia as well as the boycott of Australian products until Queensland stops the needless killing bats.Your Signature.

Please use the web forms on these links to also copy and paste your letters:


Please also:

Visit the DON’T SHOOT BATS website


Source: Don't Shoot Bats

Threatened Species Day in Queensland, Australia was marked this year by the re-introduction of government-sanctioned killing of two threatened species – Spectacled and Grey-headed flying-foxes. The Qld Government banned shooting of flying-foxes in 2008 after the government’s Animal Welfare Advisory Committee found it was inhumane.

On Friday, a regulation exempting flying-foxes from humaneness requirements under the Nature Conservation Act comes into effect. So fruit growers will once again be permitted to shoot flying-foxes, despite its acknowledged cruelty. This decision stands in contrast to the removal of exemptions for dugong and turtle hunting under animal welfare laws less than 3 months ago. At that time Minister John McVeigh said “it’s important every Queenslander understands animal cruelty is never acceptable”.[1]

Under the new regulation, up to 10,500 flying-foxes can be shot each year. More are likely to be shot illegally and thousands of dependent young will also die. Shooting flying-foxes was banned because there is a high rate of wounding, and young flying-foxes die of thirst or starvation when their mother is shot in an orchard.

Four flying-fox species will be affected: Grey-headed, Spectacled, Black and Little red flying-foxes. Fruit growers can protect their crops far more effectively with nets, costing as little as $8,000 per hectare.

Please send a letter to Queensland’s Government. Tell them the world is watching, and encourage them to reverse this barbaric decision. Let them know that you will boycott traveling to Australia as well as products that come from Australia, and that you plan to let all of your animal-loving friends to do likewise. Feel free to copy and paste the sample letter below into your emails.All governments have made mistakes as it pertains to the environment. A major city in North Texas area in the U.S. was going to eliminate the bats from the downtown area until they were educated about the economic and environmental impacts of such a decision. Austin, TX (USA) sees $10-$15 million dollars a year in tourism due to the population of bats in that city. They have learned to embrace them rather than victimize them. Your country would be better served financially if you did the same thing. Set up flying fox tours so people can be situated between a camp and a hunting ground to view the bats, plant sacrificial crops for them to eat near their camps, advertise for donations for the appropriate crop protective nets used in orchards, etc. You have organizations on the ground in Australia ready and willing to work with you.
The decision to kill bats has been reversed once, lets make it happen again.



Andrew Powell: glass.house@parliament.qld.gov.au
Campbell Newman: thepremier@premiers.qld.gov.au
Campbell Newman, Ashgrove: ashgrove@parliament.qld.gov.au


Dear Queensland Government,

I write to you in hopes that you will have the good conscience to reverse the decision to allow the killing of flying foxes in Australia. The mere thought Australian government is permitting endangered species to be massacred is unconscionable. We all share this planet and in a time when we are experiencing the loss of so many species that are critical to the health of our planet, and we are faced with variations in climate that will add to the destruction of more species, why on earth would you contribute to the decimation of an essential species that are a prime tourist attraction for Australia?
If you allow the shooting of 10,500 per year, it can easily be estimated ten-fold of that number will be shot because they will lay dead and dying in areas not generally accessible so it will be impossible to keep track of the numbers. Additionally, you will not have the trained staff to monitor all of the shoots.

Whenever there is an environmental ‘mistake’ made, are you aware there is what has come to be known as the ‘Australia Effect’? It is part of environmental planning to make certain no one duplicates the errors made in Australia when coping with ecological issues. Your latest decision, concerning the flying foxes, will eventually be one more instance in the Australia Effect.

Flying foxes may appear to some less educated individuals as pests, but to the rest of the world you are shooting a flying mammal with an intellect comparable to that of a dolphin. You will be vilified by concerned individuals, environmental and animal welfare groups and Australia will suffer a severe blow to its economic health because thousands of people will post and share the horror that is transpiring in Australia and each individual who is contacted will contact 10 more people. Exponentially the news will reach millions who will find your decision to be abhorrent. Australia will suffer a boycott. I implore you to reconsider your actions. Give the world a reason to embrace Australia rather than scorn it.




How do you describe a creature who defies all logic? One that melts your heart while it pesters you relentlessly? One that outsmarts you at every turn, while you enjoy the manipulation? We’ve racked our brains for an answer, and always come back to the same description, it’s “Peekaboo.”

Peekaboo sleeps
Peekaboo sleeping. Click to enlarge.

Peek-a-Boo came to Bat World Sanctuary via her elderly mother, an Egyptian fruit bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus) who was rescued from deplorable conditions in the fall of 2009. Her mother was housed in a tiny cage with two dozen of her own kind. All of the bats were rescued from a roadside zoo and brought to Bat World Sanctuary. Peekaboo’s mother was among those in the worst shape. The stress of the rescue caused the older mother to abandon one-month old Peek-a-Boo shortly after arriving. She was found hanging from a branch in our large flight cage one morning, alone, cold and crying for food. She was hand raised, along with Edward, a much smaller Carollia infant who had also lost his mother after being rescued.

Peekaboo comforts Edward
Peek-a-Boo comforts Edward on his first introduction to the flight cage. Edward has green markings for quick identification.Click to enlarge.

The two mismatched orphans seemed to find comfort in each others’ companionship. By day they slept cuddled together in a fake lambs wool blanket. In every sense of the word, Peekaboo and Edward appeared to be normal, well-adjusted orphans, much like the others that we’d hand raised over the years. At around four months of age Peek-a-Boo was re introduced into the flight cage, and a few days later Edward followed. This was when all sense of normalcy inside the flight cage entirely disappeared.

For the first few days Peekaboo would leave the other bats and fly to us when we entered the cage, usually landing on our shoulder or back, something which took us by total surprise, but something she apparently felt was the most normal thing in the world for a bat to do. There she would stay, completely content to ride along, while I put the dishes filled with various fruits out for the night’s feeding.The other bats watched, eyes bulging in amazement at the bold new youngster who dared to use the human as a moving perch. She rode the top of our heads, my back, our shoulders, even our faces. It wasn’t long before Edward participated in the game by circling our heads closely as Peek-a-Boo perched on top like a furry crown. There she rode, head held high like royalty as the commoners circling below were reduced to mere flight.

Peekaboo and Edward games
Volunteer Janette is taken advantage of by Peekaboo while Edward circles in glee. Click to enlarge.

After the dishes of fruit were put out, we had to extract Peekaboo from our bodies in order to leave the flight cage, something she squabbled loudly and incessantly over. The once five minute job of putting out nightly fruit turned into a ten minute ordeal of trying to contain two freshly-plucked tiny feet in the palm of one hand while extracting tiny thumb claws from my shirt with the other hand, only to have the feet pop from my grasp with lightning speed and reattach to a shirt at the precise moment the thumbs were un-plucked.

At first we feared that Peekaboo had imprinted, but as other volunteers entered the picture, it became crystal clear that imprinting had nothing at all to do with it. Peekaboo simply has more personality than one bat can contain. She apparently believes every human was created entirely for her personal enjoyment, to do with as she pleases. She is particularly fond of ponytails, buns, or anyone with longer hair. When she approaches her target, in her hummingbird pattern of flight, she aims for the part of the head that has the most hair mass.

Peekaboo smiles
Peekaboo sits on a volunteer’s shoulder and smiles for the camera.

If you are among those with little to no hair mass, then she will simply splat herself on top of your head. Once perched, she usually goes for an ear. All other noise is replaced with loud snuffles as she explores your ear canal with her nose, which happens to fit perfectly inside.

The conditions in which Peekaboo, her mother, and the other bats were rescued were some of the worst we have ever encountered. We are incredibly grateful that we were able to rescue her, along with her roostmates. With us, her personality will never be extinguished from lack of food, lack of cleanliness, over- crowded conditions, or the torment of public display. With us, her personality can flourish with plentiful food, toys, room to fly unencumbered, furry friends of all sizes, and of course, numerous heads on which to perch.




One day you are flying free, chasing bugs as nature intended and then, suddenly, you are caught in a mist net and transported to a place unknown to you. You are held down and viewed under microscopes and bright lights. Life, as you have always known it, will never be the same. Then one day you injure a finger, and the very injury that should have cost you your life has now saved you.

Beene, a pallid bat
Beene’ in a fleece-lined roost. Click to enlarge.

Meet Beene’ (pronounced Ben-nay), a pallid bat with a very lucky injury. Beene’ was captured with a group of her kind to be part of a research study at Texas A&M University.  It has long been the practice of most institutions involved in animal research to destroy the subjects at the conclusion of the study (or if they sustain an injury during the study). Sadly, research animals are rarely returned to their rightful place in the wild.

However, a dedicated young TX biologist involved in the study thought it wrong that such a beautiful creature, who did nothing but exist as Mother Nature intended, should have this fate befall her. She contacted Bat World Sanctuary to see if there was a place for Beene’. Of course the answer was a resounding “Yes”.

In her heart, Beene’ is a wild bat and because of this she remains shy and timid around humans. Although she had a difficult time settling in at the beginning of her new life at Bat World Sanctuary, she now “hangs out” in padded roosting pouches with other non-releasable pallid bats and big browns (Beene’ is pictured in the center). She also interacts with the ever endearing Mexican free-tail bats. Beene’ does not have to be hand-fed, and except for periodic health checks, she is undisturbed because that is the way she likes it. Beene’ is one of the lucky ones in more ways than one. Not only was she spared from being euthanized, she was spared from participating in the study. Given her shy nature, being a research animal would have been extremely stressful for her. Instead, she now enjoys an unfettered life in simulated cave that opens into a flight area; her nightly flights limited only by her handicapped finger. We will continue to care for Beene’ until the end of her natural life. It is not the best thing, for that would be the wild, but it is a good runner up.



She came to us as “Sundar “but her name is now “Poppy”.

In March of 2012, Poppy arrived for a new beginning, so she deserved a new name. She is an Indian Flying Fox (Pteropus giganteus), the second largest species of bat in the world and one of the most spectacular animals on earth. However, despite her magnificence or perhaps because of it, it appeared that for each of Poppy’s 10 years of life before reaching us, she was placed on exhibit and was expected to perform. According to her paperwork, Poppy was trained to do tricks for the public, such as lifting her foot and holding out her wing.  It also appeared that Poppy was an unwilling participant. She showed her dislike for the unnatural behavior that was asked of her by biting.

Before she was retired to Bat World Sanctuary we were warned, “She likes to bite.” We have heard those words before, and to a bat specialist it sends warning bells that perhaps the bat is not comfortable in their environment. Poppy was born in a zoo, and although many zoos try and do provide decent care for their bats, for any nocturnal animal, it is a difficult life at best.  Zoo hours dictate that bats be displayed during their natural rest time. Additionally, Poppy had been put through a painful and invasive surgery to spay her even though she was purportedly only housed with neutered males.

poppys transport cage
Poppy, arriving in her shipping crate.

Poppy’s journey to find permanent sanctuary at Bat World was a long voyage across country borders. She was in transit for approximately 16 hours total. Her trip included a delay at Houston Airport (bypassing our nearby Dallas airport) in order for U.S. Customs to clear her, even though all the necessary paperwork was in order and an agent was secured to expedite her trip. Kate Rugroden, our Director of Special Projects, generously took a vacation day to drive the 5.5 hours to Houston and then 6.5 hours to Bat World Sanctuary to deliver Poppy.

Poppy was shipped in a metal cage that was placed inside a locked wooden box. There were small air holes drilled into the side of the box, but Poppy was unable to see anything outside her sealed container. The box was only two inches taller than she was, so any turbulence would likely cause her to bump her head against the hard metal wire of the cage floor.

Upon arrival, Poppy was understandably very frightened, but  she  was  given  time  to  ‘self release’ from her metal cage by holding it against the ceiling in the fruit bat enclosure, which enabled her to exit on her own.  Once she emerged, the other bats appeared to stare in wonderment at the spectacle of her sheer size.

Poppy, a giant among friends, enjoys a bit of melon while hanging beside Peekaboo, an Egyptian fruit bat. A straw-colored fruit bat can be seen to the left, and even smaller Jamaican fruit bats can be seen in the background.

Poppy's happy home
Poppy, enjoying her new surroundings at Bat World Sanctuary

For the first 24 hours she inspected and wandered around our expansive 55’ enclosure, examining toys, sampling sweet potato kabobs and allowing the smaller bats to nuzzle her fur. The following morning we found her nestled in amongst the straw-colored fruit bats and Egyptian fruit bats. She remained very shy for the first few weeks, but her trust appears to be growing. She now comes up for “treat time” with the other bats. Treat time involves small cubes of melon being given out by hand.

It’s obvious that she wants to participate but is too apprehensive to simply “join the crowd.” Instead, she slowly creeps up to the spot where the others are receiving their hand-fed treats and hangs about a foot behind the other bats. Because she is still apprehensive, we have to slowly reach out and offer her a treat while looking in the opposite direction and talking softly. Only then will she timidly take her treat from our extended fingertips.ppy, enjoying her new surroundings which include a toy box full of small vinyl toys, silk foliage and flowers, and other suspended toys that provide enrichment.

We wish to thank the zoo who responsively retired Poppy to our sanctuary. In time Poppy will realize that at Bat World, nothing will ever be expected of her. She will never have to endure crowds of loud people or perform for them, and she will never be disturbed when she should be sleeping. The only thing Poppy will ever need to do again is simply be herself.





Imagine being a young, female fruit bat; one amongst scores of others.  You are pregnant, and the zoo in which you live is closing.  Time is running out, and you need to be disposed of.  Humans arrive and start grabbing other bats –your friends, your family, and then they grab you and put you in a box. Humans have never been especially kind to you. You were always frightened when they brought in the pressure hoses to wash your cage, and you are even more frightened now.

Baby Cornelius, a Jamaican fruit bat orphan
Cornelius nursing formula from a foam tip.

You are in the box for a long time, you feel it vibrating and moving, and you hear the muffled voices of the humans from time to time. You have no idea what is happening, or if you will live or die, and you feel terrified. Suddenly, you find yourself being removed from the box and realize you are at a new location. There are vines, and flowers, and brightly colored toys, room to fly, and other bats as well. There are all sorts of places to hide, but you do not know if you can trust the humans so you try to hide. Everything bad that has ever happened to you has been because of humans. The food at your new home is fresh and tastes good, but the humans bring it, so you stop eating every time they come near. Then suddenly, your labor pains start. Your baby is coming. He is a very big baby, and you feel weak, confused and frightened. Your newborn baby falls away from you and onto the padded floor. You want to help him but you are too weak, and the humans may come back so you just continue to hide.

This is how Cornelius, a baby Jamaican fruit bat, entered the world. We understood the trauma his mother went through, she was not to blame for abandoning him. She had no way of knowing that her former life was far behind her, and that she was now safe and would be forever taken care of.

Cornelius' sweet face
Cornelius’ sweet face.

Thankfully, we are skilled at taking care of orphaned baby bats. Soon after Cornelius was found, he was quickly rushed to Bat World’s recovery area to be examined.  We wrapped him in a warm gauze blanket and gave him the formula he needed to survive. He ate greedily. Besides being a large baby, he was strong and healthy from the start.

As the weeks turned into months, our dedicated Facebook fans followed his progress from his newborn days in his incubator, through his early days, when he was weaned on banana, to moving into the flight enclosure with all the other bats, including his mother.

Today, Cornelius is a healthy, well-adjusted bat who appears to be aware of how special he is. Because he has never been subjected to bright lights, the noise of crowds of human visitors on a daily basis and the scary-sounding blasts of pressure hoses, he actually seeks out the kindness of humans to give him a special a treat of honeydew melon. He even flies over to his caretakers to retrieve it

We hope that Cornelius can somehow convey to his mother that not all humans are bad, some humans only want what is best for them. Cornelius is an extremely happy, trusting little fellow, so we can’t help feeling that before too long, his happiness and trust in his caretakers will rub off on his sweet but timid mom.

We are forever grateful to our Facebook fans for helping Cornelius and supporting his care, including the incubator in which he was raised.


Little E

Every year we rescue dozens of free-tail orphans (Tadarida brasiliensis) from our wild sanctuary in Mineral Wells, TX. Prior to their release back into the colony, the right ear of each orphan is tattooed with two to three very small dots. After all releases into our wild sanctuary, the building is checked daily for possible sightings. It’s very hard to spot one particular bat amongst the thousands roosting on the rafters. However, over the years we have been lucky enough to sight several orphans that were doing well after release.

In the summer of 2003 one of our orphans was released a bit later than normal. He was a large boy, an adequate flier, but not quite strong enough for the usual release time in August. One month later he was ready to go. He received a tattoo of three green dots (see photo) and was then released with with three adults into our wild sanctuary on September 17th.

On September 22nd we received a call from one of our local members who lives on the outskirts of Mineral Wells, about 8 miles from the wild sanctuary. She is an environmentally conscious individual who rescues various animals, including cows and horses, and has often described the swarms of bats that forage over her hay fields. She called us with concern for three bats that were hanging low on the side of her house, about two feet off the ground.

Young Little E
Little E, shortly after he was found in 2003. Click to enlarge.

It was dawn when her ranch hand, Ermin, first saw them huddled together on the wall out in the open (a very unusual behavior for free-tailed bats). Within a few minutes two flew away, but one remained. Free-tailed bats have been observed providing “support” for their roostmates in captivity; from everything to having a toenail temporarily caught in roosting pouch fabric to giving birth. The two bats that flew away may have been providing support for the bat that stayed behind.

We were amazed to find that the remaining bat was the orphan we released five days earlier. He was hanging weakly from the side of the white brick home. Sadly, he was very thin. However, it was still good to know that instinct had kicked in and he was foraging with others over open fields. It was also good to find that some of the bats from our wild sanctuary forage in a relatively safe area, free of pesticides. It is unfortunate, however, that the orphan proved true the adage “only the strong survive.” He simply wasn’t one of the strong.

The minute we arrived back at Bat World the little bat knew where he was. He perked up considerably and couldn’t wait to jump into a soft roosting pouch. He was examined and hydrated, then fed a rich meal of blended insects. After his tiny belly was full he fell to sleep, cuddled up with some of his old roostmates that were still in rehab.

We are grateful knowing the little bat is safe and sound. He’s been named “Little E” after Ermine. His permanent home is now at Bat World. Little E is just not good at being a bat, but here, it doesn’t matter. He can fly safely within the confines of a flight cage every night, snuggle with roostmates every day, and eat food that is always catered.



Thank you to the lovely ladies who drove this little dusty bat to us. She had been stuck in a warehouse for three days, was extremely emaciated and dehydrated, and would not have lasted another day. Within 15 minutes of receiving electrolytes and hydrolyzed protein she began to perk up, and was able to be fed an hour later. She is doing great and will be released in a couple of days! Click photo to enlarge.

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