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In Loving Memory of Janet Lee Kemp

 
 
 
All things by immortal power,
Near or far,
Hiddenly
To each other linked are,
That thou canst not stir a flower
Without troubling of star.

Francis Thompson

 
 
 
 
Please click here to make a donation in Memory of Janet Lee Kemp.

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.

*****

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Sponsor Melody

The containers in which the bats arrived on December 9th, 2016.

On December the 9th we had an odd delivery of two containers (photo right) covered in cloths and 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 pallid bats and 1 Myotis bat. There was a note attached to one container that read “Please take care of them.”

Melody being taught to self-feed on meal worms while she was 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. Some of the bats had injuries that had long since healed except for one little bat—a female free-tail who had a serious injury that resulted in the loss of her wing. The injury was consistent with being hit with the blade of a ceiling fan, but we can only assume that’s what happened to the little female. She was already in the process of healing when she reached us, but we started her on pain medications and antibiotics to speed her healing.

We named the little bat Melody, and during the next few weeks Melody was hand fed twice while also being trained to eat meal worms from a dish (photo right). She thoroughly enjoyed learning and caught on in no time. Being able to self-feed gives disabled bats like Melody a sense of fulfillment, especially after suffering the devastating loss a wing and the sudden inability to catch insects in flight as nature intended.

Melody in the middle, with Boo on the left and Mildred on the right.

Melody’s injury was significant so it took almost three months for her to heal up completely. Once healed, she was able to enjoy the company of others of her kind and quickly made friends with some of the other females at Bat World Sanctuary, including Mildred, another non-releasable free-tailed bat.

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Sponsor Ruffles

The containers in which the bats arrived on December 9th, 2016.

On December the 9th we had an odd delivery of two containers (photo right) covered in cloths and 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 pallid bats and 1 Myotis bat. There was a note attached to one container that read “Please take care of them.”

All the bats except one had injuries that had long since healed, including Ruffles, who’s ears appeared to be damaged from frostbite. The bats also 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.

One of Ruffles’ roost mates (with normal ears) sitting on a simulated rock ledge, enjoying the view.

The 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 the opposite end of the flight area.


Little Ruffles stood out from the group of pallid bats from the very beginning, not only because of his ears, but also from his incredibly sweet personality. His wings have a slight curvature to them, indicating that he may have been rescued as an orphan and developed metabolic bone disease from lack of calcium. The condition rendered him nonreleasable as his flight abilities are severely compromised.

While we have no idea what Ruffles’ life story was or how he came to have such damaged ears, we do know that he is very happy with his life with us. Any condition he may develop in the future will be addressed right away, and he will have the best care we can possibly give him for the rest of his sweet little life.

Footage of the pallid bat cam where Ruffles shares his home with his rootmates.

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.

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Van Gogh

In the year 2000, Van Gogh, a Mexican free-tail bat, was experiencing independence in his first summer of life. From what we can deduce, he became caught in a pre-dawn thunderstorm while out foraging for insects and was unable to make it back to his roost. Instead, he had apparently taken refuge under the edge of a sign attached to the side of a convenience store. Both the hard rain and the rising sun made it impossible for Van Gogh to safely fly back to his home roost.

Sometime during the mid-morning hours, three teenage boys noticed the little bat clinging to the brick wall and crouched tightly against the sign. Fear kept Van Gogh in place, making him an easy target for their heinous crime. Without forethought or concern for this delicate, little creature that had spent all night eating insects that destroy crops and carry deadly disease, they took a lighter from their pocket and reached as high as they could to come into contact with Van Gogh. They held the flame close enough to burn his fur and sear his ear and neck. Luckily, the shopkeeper saw them from the corner of his eye. Not immediately knowing what the boys were doing, only that they were doing something to the store sign, he rushed outside to confront them. Upon seeing the shopkeeper the boys fled, dropping the lighter in the process.  As the shopkeeper approached the sign he heard small painful cries coming  from  Van Gogh,  who  was still weakly clinging  to  the bricks. The shopkeeper’s child had participated in a field trip to Bat World last year, so he was aware of our existence and immediately phoned us.

Thankfully, Van Gogh’s injuries weren’t life threatening. However, the fur on his head and neck was singed and the skin was badly burned. The membrane on one wing had blistered and one of his fragile ears had disintegrated under the flame.  Hence, he was affectionately given the name of Van Gogh.

We admit several burn cases annually; some from power lines, some from chimneys and some from acts of cruelty, such as Van Gogh’s. Sadly, most of these bats are injured beyond repair and must be humanely euthanized.  Van Gogh was very lucky. His desire to stay alive, his sweet disposition and the fact that he was only a few weeks old helped him adjust and heal quickly. However, his missing ear prevents him from echolocating properly and foraging for insects in the wild, so he is not releasable. Van Gogh appears extremely happy in captivity. He has grown a bit old and crotchety over the years, but is still lives a pampered life in protective surroundings, with a non-releasable captive colony of his own kind.

Van Gogh was retired from the Adopt-a-bat program in 2012 and passed away from liver failure on February 16, 2017. He endured so much in his little life and although we miss him immensely, we are greatful that we were able to give him a long and happy life.

Van Gogh can be seen in his younger days on this video at 8:03:00

The following poem was written for Van Gogh by Bat World supporter Michelle:

Beautiful Bat
I am so sorry for what you went through.
The pain that you endured was not right.
Don’t listen to what they say cause it isn’t true.
You are a beautiful bat in my sight.

They could give me a billion dollars.
Thousands and thousands of gems.
I’d rather be with you for hours and hours.
Then receive any such thing from them.

I look into your sweet little eyes.
I see a beautiful soul.
I hope that you can realize.
That you are so very beautiful.

I see an angel evey time I look at you.
Beautiful precious sweet Van Gogh.
Every word I say is absolutely true.
You are more beautiful than you know.

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.

 

Bat Care and Rehabilitation Internships

Bat World Sanctuary (BWS) offers Bat Care & Rehabilitation Internships to qualified individuals from mid-July through late August only. This opportunity provides an intern with a unique opportunity to acquire basic knowledge of native and non-indigenous bat species by caring for non-releasable captive fruit bats of various species as well as the hands-on care of orphaned, ill, and injured insectivorous wild bats. Students pursuing graduate degrees in zoology, wildlife biology and veterinary medicine will find the BWS internships a valuable learning opportunity.

Available Internship Dates for 2017: July 9th through August 31st.
Dates already taken are listed below:
July 9th through July 15th – taken.
July 24th through July 28th – taken.

This internship involves, at times, substantial physical labor.  Applicants must be able to lift 40 pounds and be able to work in a variety of conditions, both standing and sitting, with variable hours. Bat care interns are also required to complete an educational project during their training.

Candidates must be mature, reliable and responsible individuals 18 years of age or older. You must be able to work both independently and cheerfully and when working as part of a team. You must have the ability to handle physically and emotionally stressful situations, and a demanding workload with the possibility of long hours if an emergency rescue occurs. Applicants should possess a strong, personal work ethic and a high level of integrity. Prior experience in wildlife rehabilitation or as a vet tech is a plus but is not required.

The BWS internship is a tuition-based program at $150 per day with a 5-day minimum. The non-refundable tuition is payable within 21 days of the start of the internship. This internship opportunity offers private housing but no transportation, food or other benefits are provided. Accommodations include an air conditioned, small, private guest room with private bathroom located in the facility. The room is equipped with a microwave, a small refrigerator, coffee pot and wifi.

A typical daily schedule will include, but is not limited to, the following activities:

  • Orphan care and feeding
  • Intake procedures and initial examination of any incoming rescues
  • Learning how to assess a variety of common illnesses and injuries
  • Assisting with care, feeding and enrichment of fruit bats
  • Captive care and maintenance of over 70 non-releasable insectivorous bats
  • Assisting in diet preparation for both fruit and insect-eating bats
  • Releasing any bats that have recovered back into their natural habitat
  • Assisting in public rescue calls for orphaned, ill, or injured bats from the surrounding community
  • Emergency rescues

Depending on the number of orphans in our care, tasks may begin around 7am and end at 11pm, with a several-hour break from noon until 7pm (excluding scheduled orphaned feedings)

Qualified applicants for the internship must meet the following criteria— no exceptions:

  • Submit a completed philosophy form
  • Submit a completed agreement/waiver of liability
  • Provide two letters of recommendation
  • Be in good physical and mental health
  • Proof of having obtained rabies pre-exposure vaccinations
  • Be willing to follow direction and work long hours

NOTE: Acceptance into the BWS internship program does not guarantee granting of academic credit. Interns are responsible for negotiating academic credit for their BWS experience with their University Program Adviser. BWS reserves the right to terminate any intern’s participation in the program should the intern fail to complete required duties as assigned and scheduled, engage in conduct that is potentially harmful to the animals, the intern, BWS staff, or the public, or demonstrate a failure to learn key concepts and competencies.

Click here to access the Internship Application, Philosophy Form and Agreement/Waiver of Liability. Email the completed forms, along with a cover letter, your resume, two letters of recommendation and your proof of rabies vaccination to sanctary@batworld.org.

NOTE: Payment should be made only after you have been accepted for an internship. If you have been accepted please click here to make a payment according to the number of days you are attending.

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