Bennie is another Egyptian fruit bat rescued from the pet trade this year. She had been purchased as a pet and her owner did not have a clue how to care for her. We were alerted to Bennie when someone shared an online ad with us where Bennie was being offered for sale in South Carolina. According to the owner, he just wanted to recoup his money. He mistakenly thought Bennie was a male. Had he known that Bennie was actually a female she would have been sold into the pet trade at a much higher price and dismally used for breeding purposes. The exotic pet trade is tremendously cruel on Egyptian fruit bats in particular. Babies are often ripped from their mothers chest and sold at a young age. Mother bats grieve for weeks for their missing pups, who, without the company of their own kind, ultimately die. Egyptian fruit bats have a lifespan of 25 years and families typically stay together for life.
Wildlife rescuers Joanne and Anne went to retrieve Bennie from the house where she was kept and they were appalled at the conditions. The house was in shambles, with ashtrays and beer cans everywhere. Bennie was in a glass cage in the living room with only a single rope to cling from. The food bowl contained something that looked like gruel. It was later learned that the gruel was a mixture of crushed monkey chow and instant milk. Bennie is a fruit bat; this is something that Bennie would have only eaten to prevent herself from starving to death. As expected, she was extremely thin and malnourished.
Aside from the conditions of Bennie, there were other exotic animals in the house. A fennec fox with what looked to be an infected eye was cowering in a crate, and a fawn appeared out of nowhere, just walking through the living room. When asked, the owner replied that the fox was for sale and the deer was being held for a wildlife rehabilitator. The owner explained that they were moving and needed to get rid of the bat and the fox. We knew we could not leave that poor little fox behind, so he was also rescued.
Later we learned of 8 more Egyptian fruit bats (mothers and young babies) and 5 short-tailed fruit bats that were destined for the pet trade in Florida so we networked with Amy and the rescue group Birds Gone Wild to rescue these bats. Then, Joanne, Anne and Amy coordinated to get all of the bats to one location. The bats were then flown to Bat World Sanctuary via a private pilot secured by Amy.
All of these beings, including the fox, are now safe and will spend the rest of their lives in comfort and safety. Bennie will overcome her nutritional deficiencies with proper vitamins and food, and the fruit bat moms and babies will spend their lives together as they are meant to do.
We could not save bats like these without the support of our wonderful donors. Thank you for helping us save these precious lives as well as those still waiting to be saved from a life of misery. To help us save more lives please donate here.