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Cody, the Bats and the Tadpoles

On September the 9th, 2017 we received a call from a man named Cody LeDuc who lived in Florida and in the direct path of Hurricane Irma. He said he had two bat houses full of bats and he was very worried because there was no way the bat houses would survive the storm. Cody stated that he had been searching for help for his bats all day and we were the only “bat people” who answered the phone.  Our first concern was being able to remove the bat houses but Cody assured us that was no problem – he would do anything to save them. We asked him if he was leaving the area before the storm and he said no, he was staying put because his house was hurricane safe. So we asked him if he could bring the bats inside and he said yes, he had both a barn (also hurricane safe) and an empty room available in his home if needed. We instructed him to place a net over the bottom of the bat houses while the bats were inside during the day, then remove the houses and take them to either the barn or a room he could close off from the rest of the house. We also suggested that if he uses his home to secure them for the storm, to make the room cold to induce torpor in the bats (semi hibernation) until the storm passed, which could take two to three days. So, the plan was to remove the bat houses while the bats were inside, place the bat houses into a net enclosure inside his barn or a room in Cody’s home, remove the screen from the bottom of the houses, and provide water in shallow dishes just in case the bats wake up, explore and become thirsty. Cody called me back later and said the plan was in action and the bats were safe inside.

Cody saved hundreds of important little lives with his effort. Before we hung up we thanked him for caring so much about the bats. He replied with “No problem, we are saving everything, even the tadpoles.”

Cody LeDuc and a buddy taking the bat house down in the pouring rain before Hurricane Irma hit the area. Photo by Courtney Lynn Baker.

 

Screen covering the bottom of the bat house to prevent them from flying out as they are moved to safety. All following photos by Cody LeDuc.

 

The bats were moved into Cody’s barn and the screen removed so they had safe shelter from the storm.

 

After the storm passed the house was remounted to its original location. A few stragglers were then placed back into the bat house by Cody.

 

The bat house with the bats inside. Cody reported “We had zero casualties and no one was left behind”… “they were all post storm hunting and seem to be happy as ever.”

The following day a lady named Alice from Georgia called us very concerned for the bats in her bat houses. She said she had been searching the internet on how to save their bats from Hurricane Irma, which is supposed to hit her area as well. Alice had three bat houses. She saw our post what Cody had done for his bats and she wanted to do the same thing. We gave her some guidance and she followed suit, saving the estimated 75 bats roosting in her bat houses. The following day we received a call from another wonderful bat person named Ashley who lives close to Orlando, FL. She had a bat house with about 400 bats inside. She had been advised that the bats would all leave before the storm and not to worry, however, the bats did not leave and the bat house and all 400 bats came crashing down around 10 pm after the storm hit. Ashley and her husband ran outside and retrieved the house and placed it in their garage. Thankfully many bats flew out of the bat house and took shelter in various places inside their garage, however, the impact killed quite a few bats and two were injured. After the weather calmed down Ashley left the garage door open so all the bats could fly out. We provided guidance on how to provide temporary care for the two injured bats and then located a rescuer in her area so the bats could receive the care they need. On our last communication with Ashley, the bats were eating and drinking and slowly recovering.

Imagine what this world would be like if it were full of people like Cody, Alice and Ashley. ♥

Rescuing Bats from the Flood Waters of Hurricane Harvey

On Monday, August 28th, 2017, we received word that bats were being affected by rising flood waters created in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. We immediately reached out to offer our support to several good Samaritans who were already saving bats. However, by Monday evening it became apparent that we needed to head to Houston asap to rescue as many bats as possible.

The bats roosting under bridges were particularly affected as the wind was too strong to allow them to leave their roosts and the water rose too quickly to enable escape. Bats need a drop-off to take flight, and the drop off itself proved deadly as many bats ended up in the rising waters. Those that could take flight became sopping wet from the torrential rains. A small percentage took refuge in nearby parking garages and entrances to office buildings where they remain today, wet, without food, water or a way to escape.

After arriving hours after midnight on Tuesday, Bat World’s Bat Care Specialist Erica Quinzel began rescuing bats before dawn on Wednesday morning. By noon she had already found approximately 200 bats that needed help so she created a makeshift care center in her truck and worked from a parking garage. Thankfully, over half of the 200 bats recuperated after receiving critical fluids (injections of electrolytes) and emergency food (hydrolyzed protein) that allowed almost immediate recovery and the energy needed to take flight.

70 bats needed critical care and were kept overnight. The photo below shows some of these tiny, exhausted beings resting and recovering from their ordeal.

On a bright note, after the water receded from under the Waugh Bridge on Tuesday, chirping could be heard from within the bat roost and thousands of surviving bats were spotted flying out that evening to hunt for insects. The bats that Erica saved were released back to their original colony last night just as their surviving roost mates were emerging.

Sadly, 22 of the bats in the most critical condition did not survive the night. However, most of the remaining bats have responded well to treatment and will be released tonight with only two staying behind due to their injuries.

Word spread about our rescue efforts and we began receiving dozens of calls from the Houston area about displaced bats as well as individuals finding bats on their porches, in their yards and other places. This information was passed on to our rescue team in Houston as it came in.

A huge thank you to everyone who sent donations to help. Your thoughtfulness and compassionate support is appreciated more than you may know.

Summer Rescue Videos

Included below are videos of some of the bats we have rescued this summer, including Benger the Avenger, Dory, Coy, Travis, Gizmo, Tidy Bat, Marria and BB. 46 juvenile free-tailed bats came from one rescue after they went on a joy ride through an old building that had been used for storage for several decades. Their video covers their rescue, treatment and release into the bat castle.

WHICH BAT IS THE VAMPIRE?

By Truth Muller, Contributing Author for Bat World Sanctuary


On June 6, 2017, NPR published a YouTube Video entitled “Should We Wipe Out Vampire Bats?” to their science channel, Skunk Bear. The video says that in Latin America, “Vampire bats are ruining livelihoods and lives. They prey on pigs, on calves, on children, and sometimes, sick bats carry rabies in their saliva.” Outbreaks of rabies are killing dozens of people and costing the region over 30 million dollars in dying livestock every year. Due to this, the ranchers of the region are petitioning their governments to exterminate the entire species. The video’s intention was to investigate the validity of this idea. However, the video does not answer questions, it raises them – and it also raises fears.

First of all, I cannot stress this point enough: Less than one tenth of 1% of all bats in the entire world ever get rabies. You’d have a better chance of getting rabies from a stray dog. So to suggest we exterminate all vampire bats because perhaps one in one thousand carry rabies is sickening. By this same logic, does that mean we should exterminate all domesticated dogs, cats, raccoons, and foxes, too, on the chance they may have rabies? All are potential carriers of the disease. There is also a serious assumption made here: that the bats are in any condition to feed once they contract rabies. Unlike a “mad dog”, a bat sick with rabies becomes not aggressive but sluggish, stops flying and dies within days of contracting the disease.

Tragically, attempting to exterminate bats is nothing new, and has been practiced in Latin America since the 1960’s. As stated in the NPR video, vampire bats are currently captured and poisoned by “spreading a toxic paste on the back of a bat, and when the bat returns to its roost the poison spreads through the whole colony”. The video also says that this is not working, and may actually increase the spread of rabies (how this can happen is not explained). According to The Secret Lives of Bats (Tuttle, Merlin. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt : NY, 2015) another common practice, not mentioned in the video, is the use of flamethrowers to exterminate bats, and the dynamiting of bat caves. Beyond ethics, the huge problem here is that the exterminators have little to no formal training in identifying a Vampire Bat. In Latin America, the colloquial word for bat translates to “vampire”. As only three of the 1,339 species of bats are actually vampires, there are hundreds of species, including insect and fruit-eating bats, who also die during these campaigns. To start an “exterminate-to-extinction” campaign in one of the most biodiverse bat habitats on Earth could spell disaster for its ecosystem, and human health. To kill any amount of insect eating bats, many of which look to the untrained eye very similar to a vampire (small and brown) would be potentially catastrophic, due to the fact that the home of the Common Vampire is also the home of the Zika Virus. The host of the video also states that “as far as we know, [Vampire Bats] don’t play any important role. The jungle would be just fine without them”. That is an extremely irresponsible statement, because “as far as we know” is not far at all. We have no idea what purpose these bats serve, but they would have gone extinct millions of years ago, or never evolved at all, if they did not serve some purpose.

So what’s the solution? The only two that the video offers are exterminating all the vampires, or a “hugely expensive vaccination program – you’d have to [vaccinate] all the people, cows, pigs, even the bats”. Another mistake: You would not need to vaccinate the bats – that would be akin to vaccinating mosquitoes for malaria, unnecessary and impractical. There is a third solution, one which virtually stopped malaria in its tracks in the same country the video was filmed: Panama. During the construction of the Panama Canal, mosquito netting was instrumental in saving lives and staving off the deadly disease. Instead of asking the government to kill things, why not petition for mosquito netting or screens on the rancher’s homes? A bat cannot bite what it cannot reach. Lastly, besides an interview with a few of the ranchers, no scientific proof is offered ANYWHERE in the video or the accompanying article, connecting vampires and these rabies outbreaks. Where is the proof? The ranchers stated only that vampires were biting their animals (and in some cases, some children who “lived over by the cows for a while”), but not that anyone or anything had died or been infected on their ranch. The video never answers its own question, “Should We Wipe Out Vampire Bats?”. Based on the erroneous statements, factual holes and lack of hard evidence throughout the video, Buddies for Bats has to say, “no”. Before we start killing off an entire species, let’s get all our facts straight, and think hard on the role these animals do play in their ecosystem, and our planet’s.

So which bat above is the vampire bat? Answer: E

Here are the other species pictured:
A: Great Fruit-eating Bat (Artibeus lituratus) B: Little Yellow-shouldered Bat (Sturnira lilium) C: Common Big-eared Bat (Micronycteris microtis) D: Stripe-headed Round-eared Bat (Tonatia saurophila) E: White-winged Vampire Bat (Diaemus youngi) F: Thomas's Nectar Bat (Hsunycteris thomasi) G: Black Flying Fox (Pteropus alecto) H: Spectacled Flying Fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) and I: Hammer-headed Fruit Bat (Hypsignathus monstrosus). 
Photo Credits:
 A and B are courtesy of RLM Novaes (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil), C-F are courtesy of A Pol (Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), G and H are courtesy of A Breed (Animal and Plant Health Agency, Addlestone, Surrey, United Kingdom) and I is courtesy of Jakob Fahr (Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Germany). Photographers are the copyright holders of the images. 

Keeping Wild Bats Safe this Summer

Summertime is busy for everyone, including bats. Baby season for our North American bats starts in May and ends in early September, depending on the species. Here are a few tips you can use to help save the lives of the battie buddies living in your own neighborhood.

FROG LOGS SAVE BATS


If you have an outdoor pool please add a frog log and well as a critter skimmer (comes in round and square). Both of these items can save countless lives every summer, like little “Skimmer” above, a frog-sized evening bat who was found clinging to clump of leaves in a swimming pool in Colleyville, TX following a severe thunderstorm. Little Skimmer floated in the pool until he was discovered the following morning by the homeowner. He has aspiration pneumonia and is currently recovering at our rescue center Bat World MidCities. A frog log may have allowed him to find his way out of the pool and safely fly away.

BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU MOW


Some bats roost in trees which makes their lives difficult because they frequently attacked by both blue jays and crows. Mother red bats (as seen above) will attempt to protect her babies by covering them with her wings, but if that doesn’t work she will gather all of her pups up and try to fly away with them. This can sometimes be accomplished successfully with newborn babies, but when pups are older the weight is too great for mom to carry and the entire little family can end up on the ground (where they are often found by people or pets, or worse, are hit by lawn mowers). If they aren’t rescued, grounded moms will stay with her babies, sacrificing herself in the process. Please check your yard for downed bats before mowing. If you find a bat in need click here to find a rescuer in your area.

CEILING FAN BLADES BREAK TINY ARM BONES

Please give them a break, by NOT giving them a break! Turn any outdoor ceiling fans OFF at night to avoid tragic accidents with bats that may fly under your porch looking for a tasty insect treat. You’ll save a little on your electric bill while also saving little lives.

SAVE BATS IN PALMS


Did you know that at least 12 of our 47 US bat species use those dried palm frond “skirts” as natural bat houses? Don’t trim dried fronds in spring or summer to protect baby bats and birds, and try to leave some dried fronds year round so bats have a safe place to raise their pups in summer or to hibernate in winter. In addition, cosmetic trimming of the fronds can make palm trees more susceptible to heat stress and drought, so leaving some fronds helps both the trees AND bats!

PLEASE DON’T DESTROY NURSERIES


It’s baby season for bats in the US, so please don’t destroy bat nurseries! THERE IS NO HUMANE WAY TO EXCLUDE A BAT COLONY DURING BABY SEASON. Most bats give birth to just one pup starting in late spring and summer, and if you seal out a bat colony now, or trim down their palm frond home, baby bats will be left behind to die. If you have an unwanted bat colony in your attic, ensure there’s no way they can get into the home’s interior but wait until the end of summer before having the colony excluded. Once this pup’s little, stubby wings grow out and she learns to hunt, she will be able to eat more than 1000 mosquito-sized insects in an hour! Please give her a chance to grow up.

INSTALL PUP CATCHERS

We are already receiving reports of baby bats falling from bat houses and other areas where new moms have formed nursery colonies. This sometimes occurs when pregnant moms move into a roost, not understanding that the population will double when their babies are born. The pups grow quickly and it doesn’t take long before the roost becomes over crowded and overheated. Installing a pup catcher is very simple to construct and costs very little. It’s a simple net that catches fallen pups and allows them to climb back inside. Pup catchers can even be made to fit inside barns, under the eves of houses and other areas where babies may be falling. If you have a bat house with bats, or have noticed pups falling from another type of roost. please don’t hesitate to install one right away. Click here for free instructions.

More lives can be saved by sharing the information on this page, so please share!

Special thanks to Cindy Myers for the use of her graphics and text, to Jacqueline Sutherland for saving Skimmer and sending us his photo, and to Taylor Flatbush for saving the red bat mom and her babies, and sending us her photo as well.

Mother’s Day, Bat Style

Mother’s Day is coming up so we’re sharing a few photos taken from our wild sanctuary as well as photos of mother bats we have rescued over the years. Descriptions are below each photo.

Brazilian free-tailed bat moms give birth to a single young each summer. Free-tailed pups are born naked and pink with their eyes open and are about the size of an almond at birth. Prior to the pups being born, the pregnant mothers form a nursery colony where all the bats snuggle together to keep warm (baby bats actually need temps of 90 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain a proper growth rate). After their baby is born the moms will take turns foraging for insects while other moms stay behind to babysit. In 10 to 12 weeks they are adult-sized and foraging for insects on their own (much to the relief of their mothers).

This beautiful Egyptian fruit bat mom was rescued from a zoo closure while she was pregnant. She gave birth shortly after arriving to us in 2012. Egyptian fruit bats typically have one pup but may have twins on occasion. Like all bats, they are very good mothers, doting on their babies by grooming them encouraging them to fly when the time comes. These moms carry their pups under their wing until the baby is about a month old. At that time the mom will leave the pup on the branch of a tree (or other spot she feels is safe), then she will fly a short distance away and call out to the baby until it flies to her. After several practice sessions the pup is usually flying on its own, however, it will continue to nurse and cuddle with mom for the next three months. Babies and their mothers form tight family units and continue to stay together year after year.

On the left, this Brazilian free-tailed bat mom and her newly born pup and still attached by the umbilical cord. Once the placenta is expelled, it will gradually dry up and fall up after 24 hours. Her single pup is nursing in the second photo. The pups surrounding this mom belong to other mothers.

Free-tailed bats have only one pup per year. When these pups are born they are 1/3 the size of the mother (the equivalent of a 120 lb woman having a 40 pound baby). Not only does the mother have to fly and forage for enough food to keep herself and her unborn fetus nourished, she has it even rougher after her baby is born. She then has to keep her own weight up while also making enough milk to feed a baby that will be full grown within 8 to 10 weeks. In the last two weeks before her pup is weaned, she will be nursing a bat as big as she is.

Free-tails eat an enormous amount of insects each night, including harmful moths, flying ants, flying termites, mosquitoes, and beetles. Each bat is capable of eating up to 5,000 flying insects per night. A mother free-tail caring for her baby must eat double that amount (10,000 insects) per night just to keep herself and her baby alive. Once her baby is full grown and on it’s own, it can consume over 25 million harmful insects during its lifespan of 15 to 20 years.

Free-tailed bats are not only critical to our environment, they are highly emotional creatures. They are as smart as dolphins, using over 25 different vocalizations to communicate. They even use these vocalizations to form syntax. A mother bat who loses her baby will grieve outwardly with mournful cries for days afterward. Some mothers, suffering the loss of a baby, will try to steal another mother’s baby, and some mothers will allow a mother who has lost her pup to share in caring for her own pup.

Red bat moms have it particularly rough as they may have up to 5 babies at a time. Immediately after the pups are born moms have to forage for more food than normal in order to sustain herself and produce enough milk to feed her growing babies. On top of that, their pups are full grown and starting to fly in six weeks, which means that mom has to eat more and more food as her pups rapidly grow. Toward the end she is nursing babies that are as large in body size as she is.

Red bats roost in trees, which makes their lives harder still because they attacked quite often by both blue jays and crows. Mother red bats will attempt to protect her babies by covering them with her wings and if that doesn’t work she will gather all of her pups up and try to fly away with them. This can sometimes be accomplished successfully with newborn babies, but when pups are older the weight is too great for mom to carry and the entire little family can end up on the ground (where they are often found by people or pets). If they aren’t rescued, grounded moms will stay with her babies, sacrificing herself in the process.

While it may look like this Brazilian free-tailed bat mom is screaming for mercy, she is actually calling out for her pup. She is surrounded by babies who belong to other mothers. When her pup hears her call out he/she will call back until they find each other among the crowd. A mom and her baby will actually recognize each others voices and scents among hundreds (and even millions) of other mothers and babies.

*****

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 to purchase through Amazon.com.

Psuedo Bat Sanctuaries

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.

A baby bat that was purchased from a bat “conservation fund”.
A barren enclosure without places for the bats to hide and get a restful sleep.

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.

Bats are Funny

Most of you reading this already know that bats are vital to the health of our planet as well as being exceptionally clean, highly intelligent and long-lived. However, you may not realize they are also quite funny.  Here are a few examples of our little winged clowns of the night sky.

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.

Binky hanging inside his beloved blimp, yelling for treats to be delivered.

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.

 

Deer Spots New Critter Cam

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.

 

Essence of Bats

By Amanda Lollar

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.

bat world sanctuary
Free-tailed bats snuggling together in a denim roosting pouch.

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.

Bat World Sanctuary
A hoary bat on the left and a red bat on the right.


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.

Bat World Sanctuary


EVENING BATS

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.

Bat World Sanctuary
An evening bat snuggled up in green fleece fabric


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.

Bat World Sanctuary
Boris, an African fruit bat at Bat World Sanctuary.


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.

Bat World Sanctuary
Peekaboo, an Egyptian fruit bat, posing for the camera.


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
Two Jamaican fruit bats roosting in a plastic flower pot lined with mesh and turned upside-down.

 

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.

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