A sad but true fact is that pseudo animal sanctuaries are on the rise and pseudo bat sanctuaries are among the greatest offenders. This has become a growing concern for true bat rescuers who may lose funding to groups passing themselves off as a sanctuary when nothing could be further from the truth. Donors are also harmed when they donate to pseudo-sanctuaries believing that their funds are going to a good cause.
Pseudo-sanctuaries may even be a legitimate non-profit organization. They sometimes call themselves a conservation organization, or even a “conservation fund”. Some of these groups are actually breeding bats in their basement and selling the innocent offspring to the public for outrageous amounts (knowing the baby won’t survive without it’s family). Pseudo-sanctuaries may exploit the bats in their care by putting them on display and charging people to see them. Pseudo-sanctuaries may also pack bats into uncomfortable containers to travel across the US. The exhausted bats are then used in educational programs for a fee. These groups may state they rescue bats and even call themselves a sanctuary, all while never showing any proof of bats being rescued or injured bats in rehabilitation.
True bat rescue groups/sanctuaries recognize the fact that the lives of the bats are as important to them as our lives are to us. They understand the critical need for enrichment and quality of life. They do what they can to ease suffering, even when that means ending a non-savable life by humane euthanasia. They share knowledge and ideas with other rescuers that can help save lives. The staff either volunteers or gets paid very little.
The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries states the following about animals rescued by bonafide sanctuaries: ” For these animals… whose profound losses can never be regained… sanctuaries are the line in the sand that says never again. It is over. You are safe now. At last.”
How can you tell the difference between a bonafide bat sanctuary and a pseudo bat sanctuary? Here are a few things to look for:
Look for barren enclosures without enrichment or places for the bats to hide.
Watch for bats on public display and an admission being charged to view them.
watch for images that are purchased or have been copied from other sources.
Investigate to make sure the bats are not being bred or exploited.
Make sure that fundraisers held for projects in the making are completed as promised.
also watch for vague language in fundraisers that leaves you feeling slightly uncertain.
See if bat rescue/rehabilitation is legal in the state where the group is located.
Look for TOTAL financial transparency.
See if the facility is either ASA or GFAS accredited or verified.
Here are two examples that should raise red flags.
Disreputable organizations prey on your emotions. There are so many deserving sanctuaries and rescue groups that need your help and support. It only takes a little research to make sure your donation goes to a worthy charity. Click here for a checklist that will help you further identify pseudo animal sanctuaries.
King of Plush Toy Hill Winston is a Brazilian free-tailed bat who arrived at Bat World as an emaciated orphan in 2008. The starvation he suffered before coming to us caused him to lose all his teeth in his first year of life. He is also slightly smaller than the other bats he roosts with. Despite these challenges, Winston always wins.
Boris Pees in a Bucket
We have no idea why Boris decided that taking the time to maneuver his butt around so that it fits perfectly inside an empty salad bucket is easier than simply peeing on the floor like everyone else. Maybe it’s the challenge? Only Boris knows for sure.
Bumpkin Likes a Challenge Bumpkin clearly likes to create goals for herself. This footage came from our toy box live cam in October (hence the Halloween decorations). Note that bats always use their thumbs to reach for objects they want, just like we do with our hands. Bumpkin struggled with her new self-made goal for a moment but finally mastered it. Perhaps it was the Frankenstein toy leg that inspired her.
Dental Hygiene All Egyptian fruit bats know that proper brushing takes at least two minutes.
Binky and the Blimp Binky is an African fruit bat who fell in love with the “blimp”. The blimp is a plastic bin that we designed for the elderly fruit bats who sometimes have trouble clinging to the mesh on the ceiling. The blimp hangs from the ceiling and it contains food, water and toys. A bat can simply recline inside the blimp and have access to all of their basic needs while still being close to the other bats. Binky discovered the blimp several years ago when it was being used by an elderly fruit bat named Bentley. Binky decided to move into the blimp with Bentley and stayed with Bentley every night. Bentley passed away in 2004 but Binky continues to use the blimp to this day. Last year Binky decided that he needs to be taxied to the blimp by a human and placed inside (even though he is perfectly able to get there on his own). He yells at his caretakers until someone comes to hand-deliver him to his beloved blimp that located within 6 feet of his roost. (Oddly enough Binky somehow manages to get out of the blimp and back to his roost every morning all by himself.) Click here to listen to Binky yelling for taxi-service.
Cirque du Fruit Bats “The Pink Unicorn” Footage from the fruit bat’s toy box cam showing the literal circus that occurs every single night.
Bat World Sanctuary is an Amazon Associate. Products listed here help us earn revenue to support our rescue efforts. When purchased (and at no additional cost to you) Amazon will donate as much as 10% to our sanctuary. Click the item to purchase a Pink Unicorn as seen above through Amazon.com.
Bat World Sanctuary (BWS) offers Bat Care & Rehabilitation Internships to qualified individuals from mid-July through late August only. This opportunity provides an intern with a unique opportunity to acquire basic knowledge of native and non-indigenous bat species by caring for non-releasable captive fruit bats of various species as well as the hands-on care of orphaned, ill, and injured insectivorous wild bats. Students pursuing graduate degrees in zoology, wildlife biology and veterinary medicine will find the BWS internships a valuable learning opportunity.
Available Internship Dates for 2017: July 9th through August 31st.
Dates already taken are listed below:
July 9th through July 15th – taken.
July 24th through July 28th – taken.
This internship involves, at times, substantial physical labor. Applicants must be able to lift 40 pounds and be able to work in a variety of conditions, both standing and sitting, with variable hours. Bat care interns are also required to complete an educational project during their training.
Candidates must be mature, reliable and responsible individuals 18 years of age or older. You must be able to work both independently and cheerfully and when working as part of a team. You must have the ability to handle physically and emotionally stressful situations, and a demanding workload with the possibility of long hours if an emergency rescue occurs. Applicants should possess a strong, personal work ethic and a high level of integrity. Prior experience in wildlife rehabilitation or as a vet tech is a plus but is not required.
The BWS internship is a tuition-based program at $150 per day with a 5-day minimum. The non-refundable tuition is payable within 21 days of the start of the internship. This internship opportunity offers private housing but no transportation, food or other benefits are provided. Accommodations include an air conditioned, small, private guest room with private bathroom located in the facility. The room is equipped with a microwave, a small refrigerator, coffee pot and wifi.
A typical daily schedule will include, but is not limited to, the following activities:
Orphan care and feeding
Intake procedures and initial examination of any incoming rescues
Learning how to assess a variety of common illnesses and injuries
Assisting with care, feeding and enrichment of fruit bats
Captive care and maintenance of over 70 non-releasable insectivorous bats
Assisting in diet preparation for both fruit and insect-eating bats
Releasing any bats that have recovered back into their natural habitat
Assisting in public rescue calls for orphaned, ill, or injured bats from the surrounding community
Depending on the number of orphans in our care, tasks may begin around 7am and end at 11pm, with a several-hour break from noon until 7pm (excluding scheduled orphaned feedings)
Qualified applicants for the internship must meet the following criteria— no exceptions:
Submit a completed philosophy form
Submit a completed agreement/waiver of liability
Provide two letters of recommendation
Be in good physical and mental health
Proof of having obtained rabies pre-exposure vaccinations
Be willing to follow direction and work long hours
NOTE: Acceptance into the BWS internship program does not guarantee granting of academic credit. Interns are responsible for negotiating academic credit for their BWS experience with their University Program Adviser. BWS reserves the right to terminate any intern’s participation in the program should the intern fail to complete required duties as assigned and scheduled, engage in conduct that is potentially harmful to the animals, the intern, BWS staff, or the public, or demonstrate a failure to learn key concepts and competencies.
OVERVIEW Bat World Sanctuary’s (BWS) staff focuses on providing the best practices possible in animal care by performing daily in an effective and efficient manner while providing a pleasurable work environment rich in practical learning and team work. The BWS staff are judged not just by the scale of the work they do but by the impact their work has on the lives of the animals they seek to serve. BWS actively works with zoos, researchers and animal shelters to offer an alternative to death. Many of the bats in our care have lived terrible lives before coming to us and we provide the security and privacy they need to recuperate from their previous existence. Making sure the bats are comfortable and disturbed as little as possible while the staff completes their work is paramount.
The position of assistant animal caregiver (AC) is available. NOTE: This position is not temporary – please do not apply if you are only wanting to gain experience. The training involved will enable the AC to move toward a permanent position of lead caregiver. We are primarily interested in someone who desires a lifetime commitment in working with bats as well as propelling the mission of Bat World Sanctuary to the next level.
PHYSICAL & MENTAL REQUIREMENTS:
The AC plays a vital role at Bat World Sanctuary in being responsible for overseeing the well-being and overall care of the bats, both permanent care individuals as well as those in rehabilitation. The AC is required to respond to rescue calls, therefore, it is important that the AC maintains a friendly attitude towards the public no matter how ignorant their questions or attitude may be towards bats. AC’s must consider this time as an educational moment to inform the public about the vital importance of bats. The AC must have the energy required to stay standing or active for 4 to 5 hours, to lift, bend, stoop, kneel and/or other strenuous activities such as cleaning large indoor and outdoor flight enclosures, preparing large amounts of chopped fruit or participating in an “all hands on deck” in case of any emergency such as a flood or fire. The AC must have the mental fortitude to assist in cruelty cases, emergency rehabilitation procedures, veterinary surgeries and euthanasia when needed.
The position does not require any specific degree but it does require a deep empathy for animals and animal welfare, passion, energy, integrity, dedication, drive, self-discipline, respect for others and a cheerful, positive attitude. The position requires previous rehabilitation experience with bats or wildlife and a deep desire to provide the best animal care possible even when it requires personal sacrifice.
Additional components needed for the position are:
Must be animal rights oriented (without being militant)
Must be mature with a professional personal appearance
Must be in good physical condition
Must have a working knowledge of social media platforms (or willing to learn)
A willingness to eventually work nights and weekends as training progresses
Ability to maintain a positive work environment
Skill set to tactfully deal with members of the public who do not understand bats
Organizational and motivational skills necessary to work well in a fast-paced environment, handling multiple tasks at once
Pre-exposure rabies inoculations with an adequate titer
A valid driver’s license and reliable transportation
Basic computer skills
Learning each and every aspect of BWS animal care operations
Observing sanctuary animals behaviors, assist in rendering medical care and attention, provide and maintain enrichment items
Participate in the preparation of food for the bats for both their daily rations as well as nightly feedings
Monitor daily food intake for both fruit and insect-eating bats and adjust as needed
Assist in veterinary visits, including capturing, sedating and medicating
Maintain the cleanliness of bat enclosures, hammocks, foliage, branches, food skewers and dishes
Replace mineral wheels, water hangers, damaged toys and vines and other enrichment items on an as needed basis
Provide pre-morning check and any bat care for elderly bats (requires arriving at 7:45 am on workdays)
Maintain the semi-outdoor flight area (hosing down and cleaning the walls and floor)
Manage the daily online schedule of the bat cam settings
Make entries in the BWS Rescue Log as well as post on social media pages
Be available for bat rescue calls and supply runs
Participate in fundraisers, create videos and answer emails as training progresses
Able and willing to advocate Bat World Sanctuary’s position on all issues
Attend any staff meetings and training as required
DRESS CODE: All positions with Bat World Sanctuary are important as they set an example for fellow staff as well as the public.
All employees must be clean, well-groomed and maintain good hygiene
Jeans, t-shirts and comfortable shoes are preferred, however, these items must project professionalism
Workout clothing, baggie jeans worn around the hips, hoodies, and clothes that are too revealing are not allowed
Most tattoos are permitted, however, large (visible) tattoos involving the face, neck and chest are not allowed unless covered.
Facial jewelry involving the lips, nose, eyebrows, cheeks, etc are not allowed while at work
SCHEDULE: 25-30 hours per week with some nights and weekends required as training progresses (particularly during orphan season – June through August). The facility work schedule is 7 days per week. Each staff member receives two days off. Workdays start at 8am and run until noon, although some days may end around 11am or continue through until 1pm or later. BWS offers flexibility in allowing staff members to switch days off with each other when all parties are in agreement. All staff members are required to know the basics of every position in the event any position becomes short-handed.
SALARY & BENEFITS:
Salary is $250 to $300 weekly, depending on previous experience. Housing with utilities included are provided. The caregivers residence is a furnished, newly constructed one bed one bath, open kitchen and living, laundry room with washer & dryer with large screened in porch. Pets are welcome. The residence is within walking distance of the Bat World facility. Insurance is not currently available, however, it is something we are working toward.
HOW TO APPLY:
To apply for this position please complete this application and email it, along with your resume/CV and a cover letter summarizing your relevant skills. Feel free to copy-paste the application into Word if that makes it easier to complete. Email all three above items to email@example.com.
For additional information on the Bat World Sanctuary staff click here.
Footage from Bat World Sanctuary’s new critter cam at new deer feeder (all items were recently donated). Images from the very first night also include rabbits, a bobcat, a possum and squirrels. All of these animals have protection on Bat World Sanctuary’s land.
Bat World Sanctuary is an Amazon Associate. Products listed here help us earn revenue to support our rescue efforts. When purchased (and at no additional cost to you) Amazon will donate as much as 10% to our sanctuary. The camera below is the model we use. Click the image to purchase through Amazon.com.
What do bats smell like? We get this question a lot and it’s actually a fun question to answer. Bats do have an odor but they don’t stink; in fact, their scents range from pleasant to weird depending on the species and even their activities. Below is a personal description of the various “essences of bats” I have encountered over the past 25 years.
BRAZILIAN FREE-TAILED BATS I first noticed the smell of Brazilian free-tails back in the early 90s when I detected a familiar odor coming from their tiny 2″ bodies.
For the longest time I couldn’t put my finger on what they smelled like, I just knew the scent was pleasant. Then, one day, while walking down a grocery store aisle, I smelled it, the unmistakable smell of a Brazilian free-tailed bat – only it wasn’t a bat, it was corn tortillas! I picked up a package, held it under my nose and sniffed. There it was, the sweet smell of corn masa – so close to a free-tailed bat it was hard to tell the difference. Years later I shared this information with my then co-author and she shared it with a researcher who decided to investigate further. Using odor-tracking software, the researcher discovered that Brazilian free-tailed bats share the same chemical compound responsible for corn flour: 2-aminoacetophenone (read paper here). This compound is present in tortillas and many other foods. Interestingly, a primary portion of a free-tailed bat’s diet in the wild is the corn-borer moth. Another interesting note is that during release and right before take off, male Brazilian free-tailed bats emit a scent that smells like a bouquet of flowers.
HOARY BATS AND RED BATS Hoary bats and red bats are both solitary species that roost in trees. Their unique fur coloring helps to camouflage them and keep them safe by making them appear as pine cones, dried leaves or even tree bark. These insect-eating bats are among the most beautiful in the US but have the unfortunate (albeit very faint) odor of fish combined with urine.
PALLID BATS In my opinion big-eared pallid bats are the true fairies of the wood. They are exquisite little beings with endearing faces, yet these gentle bats are known for their ability to eat scorpions and centipedes while remaining oblivious to the stings. They don’t have much of an odor unless they are under stress. When that happens they smell very much like a skunk.
Evening bats resemble miniature 2″ grizzly bears. They eat cucumber beetles, Japanese beetles, carabidae beetles, June bugs, flying ants, spittle bugs, stinkbugs, and small moths, and they smell like burnt oranges.
AFRICAN FRUIT BATS
Sometimes called straw-colored fruit bats, these cat-sized bats eat dates, baobab flowers, mangoes, pawpaws, avocados, figs, passion fruit and more, helping to spread the seeds of these plants over thousands of miles in Africa. African fruit bats don’t have much of an odor unless they are stressed. When that happens they smell like licorice combined with road tar.
EGYPTIAN FRUIT BATS These squirrel-sized bats eat a variety of exotic fruits from tropical shrubs and trees in the wild. Wild dates and figs are among their favorite foods but they also enjoy plant nectar. These bats have the pleasant aroma of warm fruit jam.
JAMAICAN FRUIT BATS These hamster-sized bats eat fragrant fruits like figs, various leaves, flowers, pollen, nectar and even nuts in the wild. They also help to spread the seeds of the allspice tree which brings in millions of dollars a year to Jamaica’s economy. These bats don’t have much of a smell individually but when snuggled together they emit a fragrance comparable to perfumed soap.
Bat World Sanctuary is an Amazon Associate. Products listed here help us earn revenue to support our rescue efforts. When purchased (and at no additional cost to you) Amazon will donate as much as 10% to our sanctuary. Click the item to make a purchase a Cucumber Melon Candle through Amazon.com.
1. Prison or Paradise Bats and other wild animals do not want to be taken into captivity. Regardless of why a bat is in your care, you are its captor. You control everything about a caged bat’s life, whether it has fresh water, nutritious and tasty food, enrichment, the company of its kind, and medication for ailments and pain. A barren enclosure is a prison, it leaves a caged bat nothing to look forward to and nothing to occupy its intelligent mind. As a captor, it is YOUR responsibility to create paradise for a bat that you have chosen to cage. Silk foliage, roosting pouches and fleece cloths, foam rocks and rubber netting, bark, proper floor padding and fresh food and water daily are critical items that brighten a bat’s life. Enrichment also eases stress and promotes healing, resulting in a faster release time.
2. Respect vs Nurturing Most people get involved in wildlife rehabilitation not just for the good it does for the animal but also the good it does for oneself. Providing nurture and watching an animal thrive under your care is a wonderful feeling, however, that feeling should never overpower the proper respect an animal deserves. Every captive bat deserves a peaceful existence, free from stress of being over-handled or over-bothered by constant intrusions. Provide just what they need to be happy and not what YOU need for a warm-fuzzy.
3. Over-Confidence Kills A good wildlife rehabilitator always second-guesses his or her self and usually blames themselves over the loss of an animal. Every mistake or loss needs to be an opportunity to learn so that bat did not die in vain. Ask yourself what could have been done differently, or what did you miss? If there was nothing that could have been done, what knowledge did you gain that can be used to help save the next bat? Learning from mistakes will make you a better rehabber. Being overly confident ruins your ability to learn from your mistakes and will cause more bats to die in your care.
At most animal sanctuaries, Christmas day is just like any other. Resident animals must be cared for and rescues still take place. That’s no exception at Bat World Sanctuary. The bats don’t know it’s Christmas, of course, they only know they getting extra treats, toys and decorations added to their enclosure – decorations they haven’t seen since this time last year.
A staff of two take care of the bats on Christmas day, myself (Amanda) and Assistant Director, Terri. The other staff members are off enjoying time with their families. Between the two of us we manage to get everything done in about four hours so we still have plenty of family time as well. While we work we spend a lot of time having fun, always joking that we could never take December 25th off because “The bats still poop on Christmas day!”
We also talk about how grateful we are to our supporters, because without them we wouldn’t have the means to take care of the bats on Christmas or any other day of the year. We are also grateful for the many shoppers who visited batworldstore.org and bought educational gifts that spread the good word about bats while bringing in extra funds to help our rescue efforts.
This year was even more exceptional because our supporters contributed enough on North Texas Giving Day to provide food for the bats for an entire year, ensuring that next year, the bats can still poop on Christmas day.
On December the 9th we had an odd delivery of two containers covered in cloths found in our delivery hall after we came back from a supply run. The containers held 19 non-releasable bats of various ages including 7 free-tails, 3 big browns, 8 pallids and 1 Myotis bat. There was a note attached to one container which read “Please take care of them.”
All the bats except one had injuries that had long since healed. One bat, a female free-tail, had a serious injury that resulted in the loss of her wing. She was already in the process of healing but we started her onpain medications and antibiotics to speed her healing. All of the bats had bright eyes and were a good weight so it was obvious that someone had been taking good care of them for quite a while.
The bats were evaluated and over the next few days we discovered that most of them were self-feeding. Over the next week, all but the injured free-tail were slowly introduced into the existing non-releasable bat colony at Bat World. The injured female (that we call Melody) was placed into an incubator in our clinic with another free-tailed bat suffering with frost bite. At this writing little Melody has since learned to eat from a dish so both she and little “Frosty” will be moved into the flight enclosure very soon.
The remaining bats gradually settled in, making friends with their new free-tail and big brown roost mates. Some of the bats moved into the simulated cave provided for the handicapped bats while the pallid bats chose to move into another simulated cave at at the opposite end of the flight enclosure. At this writing all of the bats are doing extremely well and are adapting to their new life at Bat World Sanctuary.
We hope the person who left these bats with us is reading this. If you are, please rest assured that we will take good care of them and they are welcome to stay with us for life. We don’t know your circumstances but we wish you the best, and we thank you for saving these bats from whatever tragedies they once faced.
Bat World Sanctuary is an Amazon Associate. Products listed here help us earn revenue to support our rescue efforts. When purchased (and at no additional cost to you) Amazon will donate as much as 10% to our sanctuary. Click the item to make a purchase, and thank you!
During the summer months, hundreds of Brazilian free-tailed bat mothers set up nursery colonies in the attics of vacant buildings in a dilapidated part of a nearby town. Occasionally, a baby bat will become orphaned from the mother not returning to the roost for various reasons including being injured in a storm or becoming the victim of a predator such as an owl, hawk or human. Orphaned bats go in search of mom and often end up grounded on the outside of the buildings, so Bat World volunteers walk the area early every summer morning to look for pups that can be saved.
“Little Ernie” survived despite tremendous odds being stacked against him. He was stuck inside a old, vacant building for at least two days before being accidentally spotted through a glass door on July 14, 2016 by volunteer Moriah. Luckily we were able to find the building owner (Ernie B.) and we called him immediately. Ernie B. said he would go check and see if the bat was still there and call us back. A short while later he returned our call and said the little bat was already dead.
Later that night we went to check the area again and decided to recheck the building, just in case. We immediately spotted the same little bat behind the glass door, very much alive and struggling to find a way out. He was covered in dust and laying on the floor with a large amount of debris clinging to his little feet, which he dragged behind him as he feebly crawled across the floor. It was easy to tell by the way that he was moving that he was very weak from the weight of the debris as well as a lack of food and water. Periodically he would stop and rest, which made him look deceased.
We called Ernie B. again and thankfully he was available to come and open the door so we so we could rescue Little Ernie.
Little Ernie’s strong will and determined personality helped him survive the odds that were stacked against him. But as it turned out, Little Ernie was born with deformed fingertips which will prevent him from ever flying free, so being stuck behind those glass doors at the right time were the best odds he could have hoped for.
Ernie will never again have to beat the odds. He will be cared for at Bat World Sanctuary for the rest of his life, where the odds are always stacked in his favor.