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.
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.
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!
On September 22, 2016 (North Texas Giving Day) you were invited to watch us LIVE from 8:00 am until 11am-noon CST as we went through our daily routine at Bat World Sanctuary, cleaning enclosures, hand-feeding disabled bats and preparing bat food. 100% of all the money we raised on that day was deposited into our Food Account in order to provide food for the bats we care for and rescue next year. We needed to raise at least $35,000 to cover the cost of both food and medicine for 2017. Click here to view the results from Giving Day! Giving Day donations, as well as the donations we received through paypal and other means, totaled an astounding 40,515!!!
Here is a summary of what your donations have furnished for the bats:
$25 = 1 box of bananas (156 boxes needed annually)
$40 = 1 box apples (364 needed annually) or 1 box sweet potatoes (104 annually)
$50 = 1 box of pears (104 needed annually)
$250 = 40,000 meal worms (24 needed annually)
$500 = 5 days of food for both the fruit and insect eating bats
$1,000 = 10 days of food and medication for the sanctuary bats & those we rescue
$3,000 = 30 days of food and medication for the sanctuary bats & those we rescue
PLEASE ENJOY THIS FOOTAGE (including bloopers!) MADE FROM OUR LIVE CAMS ON 9/22/16.
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 Nest Cam like used above through Amazon.com.
Washington DC – The 2016 Carole Noon Award for Sanctuary Excellence recipient was announced by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS). This year Amanda Lollar of GFAS-accredited Bat World Sanctuary was singled out for her leadership in supporting the welfare of bats as a caregiver, educator and advocate.
The Carole Noon Award for Sanctuary Excellence is given annually to a sanctuary or individual who embodies and puts into practice the GFAS philosophy of vision, dedication and excellence in animal care. It memorializes Carole Noon, founder of Save the Chimps in Fort Pierce, Florida, the world’s largest chimpanzee sanctuary.
“For decades, Amanda has been a tireless champion for this often misunderstood, maligned and underserved group of animals,” says Kellie Heckman, GFAS executive director. “She is the expert in captive bat care and management and an inspiration to all for her passion and dedication. We are excited and honored to provide her with the recognition she deserves.”
Amanda Lollar founded Bat World Sanctuary in Weatherford, TX in 1994, after rehabilitating her first injured bat in 1988. Amanda has since volunteered her time seven days a week, 365 days per year, 12 to 16 hours per day. The Sanctuary currently cares for over 200 permanent residents. Over the past two decades, Amanda has personally saved the lives of thousands of bats, including over 2,000 starving and injured orphaned bats which were hand-raised and released back to the wild.
Lollar shared her thoughts about the achievement, saying, “Bats are miraculous creatures that deserve our protection. They are highly intelligent, have remarkable language skills, and form deep social connections. It has been my life’s work and my greatest joy to defend and support the species. I thank GFAS for this monumental recognition and for all they do to protect the animals of the world by making certain Dr. Noon’s passion and compassion lives on.”
“Amanda has trained over 400 zoologists, veterinarians, and other animal care professionals from every bat-inhabited continent in the world. It is not an exaggeration to say that Amanda has saved hundreds of thousands of bats across the globe due to her hands-on ability and her willingness to share her knowledge. We are so very grateful to GFAS for bestowing this much-deserved award upon Amanda, who makes us proud each and every day,” elaborates Dottie Hyatt, Vice President of Bat World Sanctuary.
An award will be presented to Ms. Lollar in person at a ceremony in the fall at Bat World Sanctuary.
About Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries:
Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the sole purpose of strengthening and supporting the work of animal sanctuaries/rescues worldwide. The goal of GFAS in working with and assisting sanctuaries/rescues is to ensure they are supported, honored, recognized and rewarded for meeting important criteria in providing care to the animals in residence. GFAS was founded in 2007 by animal protection leaders from a number of different organizations in response to virtually unchecked and often hidden exploitation of animals for human entertainment and financial profit. The GFAS Board of Directors guides the organization’s work in a collaborative manner. They represent top leadership from Born Free USA, The Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and American Anti-Vivisection Society. For more information, visit: www.sanctuaryfederation.org.
We’ve been very busy rescuing orphaned and injured bats this summer. Included below are videos of Ernie, a young free-tailed bat rescued after being trapped inside a vacant building for at least two days; Mama Bear,, who suffered blunt force trauma; Munchkinface, who suffered a “lucky” fall; Gigi, a beautiful Seminole bat; and a free-tailed juvie who likely walked a mile on hot pavement before being rescued.
They have had thousands of bats roosting in their downtown buildings for several years. And even though they sometimes create an odor, the city wants the bats to stay in the area because of the tremendous amount of insect control these bats provide.
On May 21, 2016, Bat World’s Director of Special Projects, Kate Rugroden, met with approximately 15 residents and local officials from the City of Palestine and members of the East Texas Chapter of Master Naturalists, to discuss how best to handle the humane removal and ultimate preservation of several colonies of bats from historic buildings in the downtown Palestine area.
Several ideas were discussed, including installing bat houses on the affected buildings and installing ‘rocket’ style bat towers throughout the city. We also covered ways to engage the community, such as a bat fair, bat house building events, educational programs, and news articles/press releases.
One promising idea being considered is creating a sanctuary that has sufficient space around it for a decent perimeter as well as places to build patios for viewing. One building (built in 1913) suffered a catastrophic structural failure some years ago. Originally a 4-story structure, the 3rd and 4th floors collapsed and the roof fell in. One suggestion, which seems to have a lot of traction, is to have that building fitted out as a bat sanctuary. There are open areas on three sides of the building which would establish a safe perimeter and allow businesses to set up viewing areas, where visitors could watch the nightly emergence. The fourth side of the building contains large picture windows. The local middle and high school students could be given the opportunity to design educational window displays, paint murals, etc. City staff would be responsible for checking the building periodically, removing excess guano and ensuring the building is secure.
The project is expected to take several years to complete, given the number of buildings involved. The East Texas Master Naturalists will be active participants, assisting with outreach, public education, and building bat houses. Bat World Sanctuary’s involvement will include consulting on design and placement of bat houses, educational programs and materials, and providing contact information for additional resources.
We are extremely pleased to be part of this wonderful initiative, and the enthusiasm demonstrated by the people of Palestine for protecting the bats is encouraging beyond measure.