This free-tailed bat was admitted to our facility with a big gash to his side, which included a severe wing membrane tear which rendered him unable to fly. It took several months for his injury to heal. The photos below show the progression of his healing. His membrane healed correctly, and after six months of nightly flight exercise the finally demonstrated the flight skills needed to be returned to the wild. Click photos to enlarge (and our apologies that there are no photos of his face).
In 2009 we rescued 50 short-tailed fruit bats from a zoo that was closing in FL. These bats had been kept in a small flight area and allowed to reproduce uncontrollably, until there were over 400 bats. When the zoo closed, they reached out to other zoos and sanctuaries, and unfortunately exotic pet trade dealers in an attempt to place the bats. We opted to take all the females we could house (50, total) knowing that most of these girls were likely pregnant. We would have liked to take all the bats but sadly we did not have the room. However, accepting only females helped to prevent the number of “breeding stock” entering the exotic pet trade. Unfortunately, these bats are not indigenous to the US so could not be released back to the wild.
The zoo that housed these bats fed them off the floor of their flight enclosure. Water was also provided on the floor. The bats were forced to land on the floor to drink water and eat their fruit, which over time would become contaminated wit their waste due to the bats hanging overhead in the small flight enclosure. We were shocked that, on arrival, the crate we had supplied to the zoo to ship the bats to us contained an excessive amount of fruit on the bottom of the cage. Turbulence could have easily caused one of these bats to fall into the food. Additionally, none of the fruit was cut into small enough pieces to allow the bats to carry it back to the top of their cage to eat as they would do naturally. The only way the bats could eat was to lay on top of the fruit and chew off what they could.
Today the female bats are doing very well. Some had babies, which will live out their lives at Bat World. The boys that were born were neutered to prevent future breeding. The bats now enjoy eating their fresh fruit from bowls that hang from the ceiling of their cage, drinking fresh, clean water, and playing with toys and other forms of enrichment scattered through the 55′ flight enclosure at Bat World Sanctuary. Click photos below to enlarge.
In the summer 2005 we received a baby bat, approximately two weeks old, slowly suffocating with a punctured lung. A punctured lung can result from blunt force trauma, rib fractures, or a foreign object entering through the torso and into the lung.
In the case in larger mammals, the lung will sometimes reinflate after the air is evacuated by inserting a needle or a chest tube into the thoracic cavity. Air will then flow back into the lung as a result of the pressure differential between the outside and inside of the lung. However, due to the small size of insectivorous bats, this procedure would likely to cause further damage.
Through Puff, who was hand-raised to a healthy adult and then released, we discovered that tiny punctures may seal on their own in microbats so long as the air that has escaped into the body wall is evacuated. Click photos below to enlarge.