Isis, an Egyptian fruit bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus) came to us from an amusement park where she hung in a small glass cage and endured crowds of loud people gawking at her day and night (click here to read her story). Only when she was elderly and had developed cataracts was she finally allowed the peaceful life she deserved. It took her several weeks to trust her new caretakers and look forward to the melon treats that always came with soft voices. Toward the end Isis rarely left her little hammock that she liked to recline on with two other elderly Egyptian fruit bat friends. She passed away in her sleep on November 5, 2015. Good bye sweet Isis, you are sorely missed each and every day.
It is with a heavy heart that we bring you the news that Poppy, an Indian Flying Fox (Pteropus giganteus), has passed away. Poppy came to us in 2012 after being retired from a zoo where she was used for educational programs. She was often expected to “perform” by stretching our her wings, something she grew to dislike and consequently showed her displeasure by biting her handler. After she reached us it took her over a year to trust the fact that nothing would ever be required of her, she simply had to be herself. Over the past few months Poppy had become less active and liked to lay in her hammock where she was close to food and water. She eagerly looked forward to her twice daily treats that were hand delivered to her during daily checks. She left us all too soon on Oct. 27th, after suffering heart problems. Her life was filled with happiness at Bat World Sanctuary; we just wish her time with us could have been much, much longer. Please click here to read more about Poppy’s life with us.
Kizmet was a sheltie mix that we rescued from the Mineral Wells Animal Shelter in the year 2000. Unfortunately, she was plagued with health issues from the start due to a suppressed immune system, and within months of being rescued she developed both hip and knee dysplasia which required corrective surgery. Kizmet never missed a beat and overcame all of her handicaps, learning to run and play by hopping with her back legs while running with her front legs. She was an inspiration to every intern and volunteer who came to Bat World Sanctuary.
As Kizmet grew older she retired herself from the position of “dumpster truck alerter” and instead opted for the job of “office shredder”, a position she filled with great enthusiasm. She passed away on May 16, 2015 at 15 years of age. She was a beautiful dog with a tremendous personality and she left a hole in our hearts with her passing.
Fabio, a Jamaican fruit bat, was retired to Bat World Sanctuary in 1994 from a DNA research project involving a dozen of his kind. The project involved taking notices from the ears as well as toe samples from the bats. Understandably, Fabio was very distrusting of humans when he arrived. Outside of routine health checks,. we gave him the space and privacy he needed. In his older years he grew arthritic and needed help grooming his fur, and we gained his trust in the process. During the last three years of his life Fabio was groomed every morning. He grew to love the process as much as we did. Fabio passed away on March 26, 2015 at the age of 22. Rest in peace, sweet Fabio; we still miss you dearly.
It has been said that bats are the realization of the Fairy of the Wood, keeper of the caves, custodians to the secrets of the night. And so it was on a hot August night in 2009, like a heavenly angel descending through the darkened sky, came Ethereal. One of the rarest bats in the entire world, a completely white (albino) micro bat, seen approximately once every 7-10 years by those involved in the world of bats.
Ethereal was found seeking refuge at Bat World’s wild sanctuary, scampering and slipping as she tried to make her way across a beam. She was very thin, under-nourished and in poor condition. She was quickly recovered from the beam and brought into the hospital at Bat World. She was only a juvenile, petite and gentle; not yet full grown, but her sweet personality was already distinctive.
Albino bats are easy prey for predatory birds and other nocturnal creatures. Because there was an owl perched near the wild sanctuary, Ethereal was an effortless target. We decided to take her into protective care so she could live her life without fear of predators.
Albinos are often not as long lived as other mammals as they can be predisposed to health problems. Ethereal passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly on July 4th, 2013 from pneumonia, likely brought on by albinism immunodeficiency as her condition did not respond to treatment. She passed away not quite reaching 4 years of age.
Goodbye precious Ethereal, our sweet little Fairy of the Wood. There will never be another soul like yours, and you will be forever missed.
She spent the first ten years of her life in a New York apartment, in a dirty, bare, wooden-frame cage with a chicken wire ceiling. The young bat shared this cage with her only roostmate, her mother. The cage held no enrichment, no place to hide from the daylight, and no- where to sleep comfortably. Then, as fate would have it, the person who kept the mother and daughter bats in these conditions died, and their lives finally changed.
In January of 2000, Director of Mercer County Wildlife Center, in Titusville, NJ received the call about the bats after wildlife officials found numerous other exotic pets in the house of the man who had passed away. Their conditions improved at the center, and they were cared for by a staff of volunteers. Then, in a tragic turn of events, a rat made its way into the center one night and chewed into the cage that the mother and daughter bats shared. The rat attacked and subsequently devoured the mother bat, sparing the daughter.
The daughter was then transferred into a bird cage for safety, and moved to a different building. Because she now had no roostmate, the staff provided her with a stuffed StellaLuna bat doll with which she cuddled. She was used for public presentations for the next year. Then, in May of 2006 she injured and broke her leg while in the bird cage. After that, her health began to rapidly deteriorate.
In November of 2006, the daughter bat -now 16 years old- arrived to us lying in a box padded with
baby blankets. When the lid opened she looked up in fright with watery, old eyes that spoke of her past horrors. Her tiny body had a yellowish tint, indicating poor nutrition and possibly the beginning stages of liver disease. Her fur was sparse and patchy, and the foot of the previously broken leg pointed backwards in the direction it had healed. The knee in the opposite leg appeared to be swollen with arthritis, perhaps from the stress of only having one good leg with which to hang. The trip had taken its toll on her frail body, and at first we feared she might not survive.
But this tiny girl had fortitude; she fought her way back with all her might. We decided to call her Stella, both for the doll that helped her through her lonely period, and because of the popular book StellaLuna, a story about a mother and daughter fruit bat who become separated.
Unable to hang for the first few days, we placed Stella in a padded pouch that rested inside a small mesh enclosure until she was well enough to join the other bats in the flight cage (top photo). We started her on liver medication, and her coloring, along with her energy, vastly improved. Arthritis medicine helped her painful, swollen knee, and before long her eyes were clear and bright, and she could once again hang upside-down. As Stella’s health progressed, she was slowly moved into the flight cage, gradually spending more and more time until she was strong enough to remain there throughout the night. We created custom ‘Stella-sized’ hammocks in select locations in the flight cage, so she could rest her diminutive body and crippled legs during the process.
Within months, Stella was bright-eyed, inquisitive and full of life. She chose favorite toy as well, a miniature bird mirror with curly-cues around the frame.
During Stella’s final years, we tried very hard to erase her bad memories as well as the horrific sorrow she must have endured during the tragic loss of her mother. We filled her nights with happiness, good health and plentiful foods, brightly colored toys, and dozens of warm and cuddly bat friends.
This courageous little bat was with us nearly five years, having survived a bleak existence in a stark, wire cage with her mother. When she arrived, her lack of fur, dull eyes and stunted size confirmed she had endured more than any creature should have. Stella was a miniature delight who passed away peacefully in her sleep as she rested in the hammock she loved so much, amongst the comfort of her adopted family.
Rest in Peace precious Stella, your sweet soul will be forever missed.
Poopley came in as a foster dog and ended up a permanent and beloved part of Bat World Sanctuary. He came to us with a chronic intestinal problem, for which he became aptly named. During his time at the sanctuary, he witnessed our facility undergo major renovations, including enlargement of flight enclosures and the recovery room, and the coming and going of numerous visitors from around the world. Poopley was adored by hundreds of workshop attendees, and almost everyone took photos of him. He loved to dress up, his favorite costume being a bat cape and ears.
He was approximately 2 years of age when he came to Bat World, making him 18 years old when he passed away. One of his favorite spots was in the office, where he was on constant patrol for UPS and the mailman.
Poopley was cremated and is now with us in the office at all times. Good-by “Mr. Poopley-do”. Not a day goes by that you are not deeply missed.
Bert was a lion-hearted little brown bat who survived all odds.
In early spring of 2002, Bert was found in the sub-zero snowdrifts of Glacier National Park in Alaska, barely clinging to life. The wings that once carried him so well, the ears that once twitched as they echolocated and the tail pouch that held his nightly catch, were all now consumed by the insidious effects of frostbite. But through the caring heart of the Park Wilderness Manager, Bert was rescued from his frozen environment and brought to safety. Bat World was contacted to see if it was possible to save Bert’s life and give him a quality captive care life. Through the cooperation of Alaska Fish and Game, this tiny miracle of miracles that weighed less than a quarter, was placed in a specially designed 20 lb., heavily padded, bat transport case and shipped on an Alaskan Airlines jet that was met at midnight at the Dallas, TX Airport. Bert was immediately transferred to Bat World Sanctuary where he received the critical care he so desperately needed.
Bert bravely accepted his fate as the effects of the frostbite claimed his delicate fingers, thumbs, forearms, ears and tail. Slowly these vital parts of his body turned to necrotic tissue and eventually had to be removed. But through it all, Bert persevered, maintained his pleasant disposition and nuzzled his tiny face against his caregiver’s hand to let her know everything was okay. Bert is one of those rare creatures who gave inspiration to those around him. He learned to self-feed and seemed very happy in the specially padded cage that he shared with another non-releasable little brown bat named Emmy. He had padded cave rocks, a lush foliage ceiling and a one-inch thick foam floor with flannel coverings in the winter to keep him warm and sheeting in the summer to keep him cool.
Bert spent several years with us before passing away of kidney failure. He remained faithful to his lady-love Emmy throughout his short life with us. Bert was truly a lion-hearted tiny miracle, and to this day is sorely missed.
Annie arrived to us in February of 2002, in a small, plastic container. She was clinging desperately to a thin cloth, her only protection.
Her mouth contained rotten, abscessed reminders of glistening, white teeth. It was hard to believe that her sparse, dry fur was once thick and golden brown. Large bald spots revealed a gaunt form underneath. Her tiny, trembling body weighed only half of what it should, making her head appear over-sized. But despite all that she had lost, her dignity remained.
Annie was part of an educational exhibit owned by a science center on the east coast and was one of only two survivors of the eight big browns that the center originally obtained. Annie was acquired by the center in September of 1996 at about three years of age. Her medical records revealed horrible neglect over the course of several years.
Although we could never give Annie what had been taken from her, we gave her the medical attention she desperately needed. Annie was started on antibiotics immediately after she arrived. She were hydrated, groomed and fed a blended, high-calorie insect mixture. The following day all of Annie’s teeth were extracted. The healing response was almost immediate.
Annie gained weight and grew a beautiful new coat of fur. She spent the next four years in a flight cage with 50 non-releasable bats of various species, never again having to endure the bright lights of being on display to the public. Annie was hand-fed all she could eat two times a day, and seemed immensely happy. In November of 2006, Annie succumbed to liver failure. She endured so much in her short life, and we are happy that her final years with us were happy and pain free. Annie was a brave soul who will never be forgotten.
Mickey Bat arrived in grave condition after being bitten on the head by a brown recluse spider. We did not expect him to survive, but despite the pain he must have endured his will to live never faltered. Months later, when his head was completely healed, he was left with disfigured, mouse-like ears earning him the name “Mickey Bat.”
Mickey Bat enjoyed life to the fullest. He personally “owned” three roosting pouches on one wall of the miniature cave he shared with 40+ roost-mates. Only girls were allowed inside his rocks. He stayed very busy chasing the boys away. At feeding time he’d poke his little head out of his main roosting pouch and look directly at us with his bright, mischievous eyes. Then, he’d scamper down with the speed of lightning to the feeding station below his roost, where he’d tuck himself into a feeding pouch to wait for his dinner. Mickey Bat was hand fed all the mealworms he wanted twice a day. And by the look of his half-closed eyes while he was munching worms, he enjoyed every second of it.
His will to live remained strong to the very end but the spider venom that originally poisoned his system eventually took its toll, damaging his liver beyond repair. Although he had been on medication for his liver he had grown increasingly weak during the spring of 2005. We knew his time was near when he didn’t come out of his pouch to see us at feeding time one day. Two short days later Mickey Bat lost the battle he fought so strongly to win. Mickey Bat set a shining example of living life to its fullest despite adversity.
Postscript: Mickey Bat’s case has brought us new knowledge in treating insect bites in micro-bats. A spider bite case came in almost identical to Mickey Bat. After just four weeks of treatment “Peter Parker” was completely healed, ears intact, and was able to be released back to the wild.