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2017 Loving Tributes

In Memory of Fran Buraczynski.   ~Marion Buraczynski

In Memory of Wrigley and Jake.  ~Lynn Sutherland

In Memory of my Princess.  ~Leslie Wallace

In Memory of the little bat I found in a parking garage but died before I could get it to rescue. RIP little guy.   ~Amy  Wheeler

In Memory of my grandfather.   ~Gina Carreon

In Memory of my Indy.   ~Janice Gosselin

In memory of my beloved Zelda.  ~Courtney WirtJanel

In Memory of Herkel.   ~ John Hyatt

 In Memory of Jerry.   ~Jocelyn  Joy 

In Memory of Eleanor J. MacDonald, a pioneer in her field and one of my earliest mentors.   ~Noel Lampazzi

In Memory of Maggie.   ~Claire  Todd  

In Memory of Tom Taylor in New Zealand.   ~Wendy  Gardiner  

In Memory of  Sugar and and Teddy Rocco.  ~Melissa  Rocco  

In Loving Memory of Kimb Miller.   ~Barbara  Ray  

In Memory of Shirley Case.   ~Margaret  Case  

In Memory of Holly-berry, the sweetest free-tail of them all!   ~Shari  Blissett-Clark  

In Memory of Barbara Dahm.  ~Lisa  Dahm 

In Memory of Maximus Galvin, a rat who went from neglected and scared to all-time-best snugglebutt.   ~Maggie A  Galvin 

In Memory of Poppertop.   ~Jean  Thompson  

In Loving Memory of Gladys Kenemer Siao    ~Barbara Merry Geng

In Memory of Kadji and Thor.   ~Rainsong Grant  

In Memory of Fiona.   ~Susan Dustin  

In memory of my dear, sweet Lily.   ~Rachael Polachek  

In Memory of Jim Oviedo.   ~Michelle Oviedo 

In Memory of Marcile Jordan and James Ramsey.   ~Diana  Ramsey  

Memory of KelseyGirl.   ~Patricia Rankin  

In Memory of Silver, my Sweetheart Girl.   ~Sheila Neidhardt  

In Memory of Wylie and Squeak.   ~Susan Pollich  

In Loving Memory of my father, Charles F. Sweiger.   ~Karen  Sweiger-Veil  

In Memory of Bianca.   ~Morgan Fechtel  

In Memory of Donna Fellner.   ~Diane Scott  

In Memory of Cosmo.   ~Celeste Nelson  

In Memory of doggies Mama Kira, Galen, and Loki.   ~Ellen C  Cawthorne  

In Memory of Nick Dahm.   ~Lisa Dahm  

In Memory of Katie & RJ.   ~Lisa Gates 

In Memory of dad, Rabbi Aaron Gottesman.   ~Judith Gottesman  

In Memory of Michele Gagnon-Burgess.   ~Charise Mixa 

In Memory of my wonderful dog, Quincy.   ~Mary Lou Force  

In Memory of Paul and Jan.   ~Paula Lee Dowidchuk  

In Memory of Weegems.   ~Dorothy Sherman  

In Memory of Julie Fitzpatrick.    ~Jodi Fitzpatrick 

In Loving Memory of my doggie Maizie who passed last week.   ~Laci-Ann Mosher

In Memory of Oberon, our little O-bat!    ~Teri Lanza

In Memory of my father who helped me rescue many wild animals.   ~Pamela  Keeley-Gassmann

In Memory of little Iggy.   ~  Greta Dubbeld

In Memory of Kavy Bianco.   ~ Ishel Bianco

In Memory of Charles J. Poynter.   ~ Linda Poynter

In Memory of Jack Ciliberti.   ~Molly Ciliberti

In Memory of Poppertop.  ~Jean Thompson                

In Memory of Mina, Sadie, Molly, Ebby and Patches.   ~Marilyn  Gruenloh

In Memory of Gabe Cox.   ~Genevieve  Cerf

In Memory of my brother, Jerry.   ~Karen J  Lazar

In Memory of Sunshine!    ~Susie  Mays

 

 

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Benger the Avenger

At first he did not look like a vision of Beauty but that was because he had been through so much.

Benger after he was hydrated and feeling better

Benger was found in July of 2017 as an orphan. He was almost two miles from the nearest nursery colony. He was about four weeks old and too large to have been carried by another bat in flight, so we have no idea how he got to the porch of the lady who called us. In order to get where he was found he traveled through feral cats, raccoons and skunks, fire ants, traffic and burning hot pavement. He finally ended up on a porch where he was spotted, and we were called right away.

For the first few days we honestly didn’t think Benger would survive. He was critically dehydrated, so much so that it took 5mls of fluids –more than the amount of blood contained in his tiny body- to get him up to speed.

He was also skin and bones and vomited at almost every meal, losing all the formula and precious calories his body so desperately needed. Then burns started appearing on his toes and tail membrane, likely from the scalding hot pavement he traveled across. He lost his tail to burns and eventually lost on of his thumbs and a few of his toes.

It took Benger two months to completely heal. Throughout it all, he was such a hero. Despite the pain he endured, he never lost the will to survive. He isn’t releasable because of his injuries so we will take care of him the rest of his life (15 to 20 years).

His name is a combination of Roger (don’t ask) and Benjamin Button, because he looked like a shriveled old man when he arrived. We tacked on “Avenger” because to us he is nothing short of a tiny superhero.

To celebrate his survival, Bat World volunteer Moriah Champagne made Benger a tiny cape. His cape hangs on display beside the staff lockers at Bat World Sanctuary.

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Orphaned Free-tails

During the summer months, hundreds of Brazilian free-tailed bat mothers set up nursery colonies in the attics of vacant buildings in a dilapidated part of a nearby town. Occasionally, a baby bat will become orphaned from the mother not returning to the roost for various reasons including being injured in a storm or becoming the victim of a predator such as an owl, hawk or human. Orphaned bats go in search of mom and often end up grounded on the outside of the buildings, so Bat World volunteers walk the area early every summer morning to look for pups that can be saved.

An orphaned animal is at the greatest disadvantage because it has lost his or her natural mother, and a mother’s bat’s milk is very special, just as the baby to whom it gives life. Bat World Sanctuary worked for over two years with a nutritional scientist to developed a milk formula recipe that replaces free-tailed bat mother’s milk.

Free-tailed orphans are not physically able to lap milk, their tiny faces are only designed to nurse. There is no nurser small enough to accommodate their tiny mouths, however, so we use foam tips made from eye-shadow applicators. The foam is removed from the wand and cut into a shape that the pup will accept. Warm milk formula is dispenses, a drop at a time, onto the tip as the pup nurses. Because free-tail pups enjoy nursing in this fashion so much, it allows to form “assembly lines” and feed several bat pups at once.

Free-tailed bats are highly intelligent, using over 25 vocalizations to communicate. The orphans are very smart at birth and quickly realize that they are being helped. The vocalize using soft chittering and squeaks to communicate while they snuggle and play with one another.

Aside from food, we provide the love and attention their mother’s would have showered on them.  Unlike other animals, bats do not imprint so we can and do become their substitute mothers.  We nurture them and raise them.  We give them flight training and teach them to forage and when they are ready they fly free as nature intended.  If an orphan is born with an abnormality or a medical condition that prevents them from being released, we give them lifetime sanctuary with us, where they live in a simulated cave with others of their kind. The cave sits inside a large flight enclosure which enables bats with limited flight to enjoy themselves on a nightly basis.

We are able to provide all they need  because we do not do it alone.  Our supporters give us the means to save the orphans—their formula, their toys, bedding and the very incubators that are initially used keep them alive.  We could not save these tiny, important lives without your support.

Worldwide Pest Control Entombs Bats to Slowly Die

CAUTION – DISTURBING PHOTOS BELOW

On Friday, Sept 8th, 2017 we received a call from a concerned citizen about bats allegedly being sealed into their roosts with spray foam at the Sanctuary Lofts Apartments located in San Marcos, Texas. The bats were roosting in a seven story parking garage and they were allegedly being entombed alive by Worldwide Pest Control, Inc.

worldwide pest control animal cruelty
This bat was likely leaving the roost to escape when it was sealed in by the pest control company. Otherwise, the bat’s entire body would be covered with foam.

Tenants spotted one of the bats with part of his body exposed from the foam and tried to save the bat by cutting out the section of foam where the bat was trapped.  Sadly, a significant amount of foam was attached to the lower half of the bat’s body which prevented him from being able to eliminate. The bat died the following day, likely from bowel blockage and uremic poisoning.

Tenants also reported hearing more bats crying out and scratching on foam in a desperate attempt to escape. We immediately contacted the Sanctuary Loft Apartment managers to let them know that sealing the bats in alive was essentially animal cruelty, and that the foam should be removed immediately so the surviving bats could leave. We also provided information on humane bat exclusions. The manager informed us that the work had already been completed by Worldwide Pest Control, Inc.

We also contacted the city of San Marcos as well as Texas Parks and Wildlife. Sadly, there are no laws protecting bats when they roost in public structures so nothing could be done legally to help the bats. Concerned tenants decided to open a few areas and discovered dead bats in the process. However, most of the foamed areas were too high to reach and there was a dangerous 6-story drop on the opposite side.

Worldwide Pest Control Animal Cruelty
Just a few of over a dozen areas at the Sanctuary Lofts where foam was applied into the bat’s roosting areas by Worldwide Pest Control.

Tenants reported hearing bats scratching against the orange foam in at least five different locations in that areas that again, were too high to reach. The next day the tenants noticed the orange foam removed only to be replaced with black foam.

UPDATE, 9/20/2017:
A few days after printing this article we were contacted by several news companies who ran the story.  We also received this letter from Worldwide Pest Control, along with this statement in a follow-up email. We sincerely appreciate the fact that Worldwide Pest Control took responsibility for the work of one of their technicians, whose actions should not speak for the entire company. While this can’t bring back the number of bats who perished under the hands of one person, it serves as a reminder to all pest control companies to regulate themselves on a regular basis.

HOW YOU CAN HELP
We are working on strengthening Texas laws in order to protect bats from this type of abuse and cruelty, however, this is a lengthy process that is likely to be met with resistance from the pest control industry.  In the meantime, companies that engage in cruel extermination methods against bats rather than using readily available humane exclusion methods can be exposed through social media as well as online reviews. Please contact us if you see bats being removed or killed in an inhumane manner. We can be reached by phone at 940-325-3404, via email at sanctuary@batworld.org or through our Facebook page.

 

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.

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 below to make a donation in Memory of Janet Lee Kemp.

Memorial donations have been received by the following individuals:Audrey Rhodey
Patrice Rhodey
Susan Sommers
Angela Van Wyk
Alice Jena
Pamela Stevenson
Hilja Welsh

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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