Source: Don't Shoot Bats

Threatened Species Day in Queensland, Australia was marked this year by the re-introduction of government-sanctioned killing of two threatened species – Spectacled and Grey-headed flying-foxes. The Qld Government banned shooting of flying-foxes in 2008 after the government’s Animal Welfare Advisory Committee found it was inhumane.

On Friday, a regulation exempting flying-foxes from humaneness requirements under the Nature Conservation Act comes into effect. So fruit growers will once again be permitted to shoot flying-foxes, despite its acknowledged cruelty. This decision stands in contrast to the removal of exemptions for dugong and turtle hunting under animal welfare laws less than 3 months ago. At that time Minister John McVeigh said “it’s important every Queenslander understands animal cruelty is never acceptable”.[1]

Under the new regulation, up to 10,500 flying-foxes can be shot each year. More are likely to be shot illegally and thousands of dependent young will also die. Shooting flying-foxes was banned because there is a high rate of wounding, and young flying-foxes die of thirst or starvation when their mother is shot in an orchard.

Four flying-fox species will be affected: Grey-headed, Spectacled, Black and Little red flying-foxes. Fruit growers can protect their crops far more effectively with nets, costing as little as $8,000 per hectare.

Please send a letter to Queensland’s Government. Tell them the world is watching, and encourage them to reverse this barbaric decision. Let them know that you will boycott traveling to Australia as well as products that come from Australia, and that you plan to let all of your animal-loving friends to do likewise. Feel free to copy and paste the sample letter below into your emails.All governments have made mistakes as it pertains to the environment. A major city in North Texas area in the U.S. was going to eliminate the bats from the downtown area until they were educated about the economic and environmental impacts of such a decision. Austin, TX (USA) sees $10-$15 million dollars a year in tourism due to the population of bats in that city. They have learned to embrace them rather than victimize them. Your country would be better served financially if you did the same thing. Set up flying fox tours so people can be situated between a camp and a hunting ground to view the bats, plant sacrificial crops for them to eat near their camps, advertise for donations for the appropriate crop protective nets used in orchards, etc. You have organizations on the ground in Australia ready and willing to work with you.
The decision to kill bats has been reversed once, lets make it happen again.



Andrew Powell: glass.house@parliament.qld.gov.au
Campbell Newman: thepremier@premiers.qld.gov.au
Campbell Newman, Ashgrove: ashgrove@parliament.qld.gov.au


Dear Queensland Government,

I write to you in hopes that you will have the good conscience to reverse the decision to allow the killing of flying foxes in Australia. The mere thought Australian government is permitting endangered species to be massacred is unconscionable. We all share this planet and in a time when we are experiencing the loss of so many species that are critical to the health of our planet, and we are faced with variations in climate that will add to the destruction of more species, why on earth would you contribute to the decimation of an essential species that are a prime tourist attraction for Australia?
If you allow the shooting of 10,500 per year, it can easily be estimated ten-fold of that number will be shot because they will lay dead and dying in areas not generally accessible so it will be impossible to keep track of the numbers. Additionally, you will not have the trained staff to monitor all of the shoots.

Whenever there is an environmental ‘mistake’ made, are you aware there is what has come to be known as the ‘Australia Effect’? It is part of environmental planning to make certain no one duplicates the errors made in Australia when coping with ecological issues. Your latest decision, concerning the flying foxes, will eventually be one more instance in the Australia Effect.

Flying foxes may appear to some less educated individuals as pests, but to the rest of the world you are shooting a flying mammal with an intellect comparable to that of a dolphin. You will be vilified by concerned individuals, environmental and animal welfare groups and Australia will suffer a severe blow to its economic health because thousands of people will post and share the horror that is transpiring in Australia and each individual who is contacted will contact 10 more people. Exponentially the news will reach millions who will find your decision to be abhorrent. Australia will suffer a boycott. I implore you to reconsider your actions. Give the world a reason to embrace Australia rather than scorn it.




One day you are flying free, chasing bugs as nature intended and then, suddenly, you are caught in a mist net and transported to a place unknown to you. You are held down and viewed under microscopes and bright lights. Life, as you have always known it, will never be the same. Then one day you injure a finger, and the very injury that should have cost you your life has now saved you.

Beene, a pallid bat
Beene’ in a fleece-lined roost. Click to enlarge.

Meet Beene’ (pronounced Ben-nay), a pallid bat with a very lucky injury. Beene’ was captured with a group of her kind to be part of a research study at Texas A&M University.  It has long been the practice of most institutions involved in animal research to destroy the subjects at the conclusion of the study (or if they sustain an injury during the study). Sadly, research animals are rarely returned to their rightful place in the wild.

However, a dedicated young TX biologist involved in the study thought it wrong that such a beautiful creature, who did nothing but exist as Mother Nature intended, should have this fate befall her. She contacted Bat World Sanctuary to see if there was a place for Beene’. Of course the answer was a resounding “Yes”.

In her heart, Beene’ is a wild bat and because of this she remains shy and timid around humans. Although she had a difficult time settling in at the beginning of her new life at Bat World Sanctuary, she now “hangs out” in padded roosting pouches with other non-releasable pallid bats and big browns (Beene’ is pictured in the center). She also interacts with the ever endearing Mexican free-tail bats. Beene’ does not have to be hand-fed, and except for periodic health checks, she is undisturbed because that is the way she likes it. Beene’ is one of the lucky ones in more ways than one. Not only was she spared from being euthanized, she was spared from participating in the study. Given her shy nature, being a research animal would have been extremely stressful for her. Instead, she now enjoys an unfettered life in simulated cave that opens into a flight area; her nightly flights limited only by her handicapped finger. We will continue to care for Beene’ until the end of her natural life. It is not the best thing, for that would be the wild, but it is a good runner up.


sponsor poppy

She came to us as “Sundar “but her name is now “Poppy”.

In March of 2012, Poppy arrived for a new beginning, so she deserved a new name. She is an Indian Flying Fox (Pteropus giganteus), the second largest species of bat in the world and one of the most spectacular animals on earth. However, despite her magnificence or perhaps because of it, it appeared that for each of Poppy’s 10 years of life before reaching us, she was placed on exhibit and was expected to perform. According to her paperwork, Poppy was trained to do tricks for the public, such as lifting her foot and holding out her wing.  It also appeared that Poppy was an unwilling participant. She showed her dislike for the unnatural behavior that was asked of her by biting.

Before she was retired to Bat World Sanctuary we were warned, “She likes to bite.” We have heard those words before, and to a bat specialist it sends warning bells that perhaps the bat is not comfortable in their environment. Poppy was born in a zoo, and although many zoos try and do provide decent care for their bats, for any nocturnal animal, it is a difficult life at best.  Zoo hours dictate that bats be displayed during their natural rest time. Additionally, Poppy had been put through a painful and invasive surgery to spay her even though she was purportedly only housed with neutered males.

poppys transport cage
Poppy, arriving in her shipping crate.

Poppy’s journey to find permanent sanctuary at Bat World was a long voyage across country borders. She was in transit for approximately 16 hours total. Her trip included a delay at Houston Airport (bypassing our nearby Dallas airport) in order for U.S. Customs to clear her, even though all the necessary paperwork was in order and an agent was secured to expedite her trip. Kate Rugroden, our Director of Special Projects, generously took a vacation day to drive the 5.5 hours to Houston and then 6.5 hours to Bat World Sanctuary to deliver Poppy.

Poppy was shipped in a metal cage that was placed inside a locked wooden box. There were small air holes drilled into the side of the box, but Poppy was unable to see anything outside her sealed container. The box was only two inches taller than she was, so any turbulence would likely cause her to bump her head against the hard metal wire of the cage floor.

Upon arrival, Poppy was understandably very frightened, but  she  was  given  time  to  ‘self release’ from her metal cage by holding it against the ceiling in the fruit bat enclosure, which enabled her to exit on her own.  Once she emerged, the other bats appeared to stare in wonderment at the spectacle of her sheer size.

Poppy, a giant among friends, enjoys a bit of melon while hanging beside Peekaboo, an Egyptian fruit bat. A straw-colored fruit bat can be seen to the left, and even smaller Jamaican fruit bats can be seen in the background.

Poppy's happy home
Poppy, enjoying her new surroundings at Bat World Sanctuary

For the first 24 hours she inspected and wandered around our expansive 55’ enclosure, examining toys, sampling sweet potato kabobs and allowing the smaller bats to nuzzle her fur. The following morning we found her nestled in amongst the straw-colored fruit bats and Egyptian fruit bats. She remained very shy for the first few weeks, but her trust appears to be growing. She now comes up for “treat time” with the other bats. Treat time involves small cubes of melon being given out by hand.

It’s obvious that she wants to participate but is too apprehensive to simply “join the crowd.” Instead, she slowly creeps up to the spot where the others are receiving their hand-fed treats and hangs about a foot behind the other bats. Because she is still apprehensive, we have to slowly reach out and offer her a treat while looking in the opposite direction and talking softly. Only then will she timidly take her treat from our extended fingertips.ppy, enjoying her new surroundings which include a toy box full of small vinyl toys, silk foliage and flowers, and other suspended toys that provide enrichment.

We wish to thank the zoo who responsively retired Poppy to our sanctuary. In time Poppy will realize that at Bat World, nothing will ever be expected of her. She will never have to endure crowds of loud people or perform for them, and she will never be disturbed when she should be sleeping. The only thing Poppy will ever need to do again is simply be herself.




The Sunday 16

We rescue starving orphaned free-tailed bats from our wild sanctuary every summer. Normally we find and save one to two per day, but one Sunday in July of 2012, we rescued 16. The videos below tell the story of The Sunday Sixteen.



In May of 2012, an orphaned Jamaican fruit bat was brought to us attached to her dead mother, who was purchased as a pet a couple of months ago. The person who bought her didn’t know she was pregnant. The mom likely couldn’t pass the placenta, which can be fatal. The baby is fine now, thanks to the gal who owned them and realized she could not care for a newborn fruit bat.After joining our facebook page she realized that it was wrong to keep bats as pets, and she wants us to share that in this post, and we commend her for that.

We are calling the baby Tinkerbell, after her mom. At first Tinkerbell was very cold, dehydrated and reluctant to eat, but was doing much better within a couple of days. Within three months she was full grown and doing well, and now eats fruit and lives in a large flight enclosure with the at residents at Bat World Sanctuary. Click photos to enlarge.



This would have been an account of yet one more bat whose fate was sealed, due to an unfortunate encounter with “Tanglefoot Bird Repellant,” had it not been for kind-hearted Jennifer Michaelis, who was leaving a store in Weatherford, Texas, in August and noticed two children pouring water over something small and alive on the ground. She took the time to inspect their activities and saw the tormented creature was a struggling bat covered in a thick, sticky substance that resembled molasses. The bat was completely incapacitated. She cautioned the children to stop what they were doing and immediately went inside a “Big Lots” store to retrieve a box in which to put the bat. It was then she found out that the manager of Big Lots had placed bird repellant along the top edge of the building to keep the pigeons from roosting on the building.

Glue traps and sticky repellants of any kind do great harm to wildlife. Tanglefoot in particular is an insidious product which causes great suffering, incapacitating wildlife, and necessitates immediate first aid intervention. Animals get the Tanglefoot onto their beaks and in their mouths, causing them to suffocate, dehydrate, or slowly starve to death. The company who makes the product claims: “Tanglefoot Bird Repellent is a nondrying, non-toxic compound or paste that adheres to all types of surfaces while remaining sticky.”

The bat that Jennifer Michaelis rushed to place in our care had glue over her eyes, her limbs; every inch of her delicate body was drenched in the gooey substance and to make it worse, since she had contact with the ground, dirt and debris became part of the goop that was covering her.

Repeated applications of vegetable oil were applied to remove the adhesive, followed by bathing with Dawn liquid detergent. In all, over the course of two days, the bat was oiled and bathed eleven times. Additionally some of the goo remained on her neck and muzzle creases which required seven more baths to those areas.

We asked Jennifer if she wished to name the bat she saved, and she chose to name her Sarah, after her daughter, who is a bat enthusiast. Thank you, Jennifer, for saving Sarah and driving 45 minutes each way to bring her to us for medical treatment.

Note: You can help prevent bats and birds from untimely deaths from glue traps and adhesive bird repellants. Please write to Big Lots and encourage them to stop using these products, and please encourage them not to sell any type of glue traps for mammals.

Steve Fishman, President
Big Lots Corporate Headquarters
300 Phillipi Road
Columbus, OH 43228Please also write to the makers of Tanglefoot and let them know their product is cruel and causes great suffering and death to wildlife:The Tanglefoot Company
314 Straight Avenue, S.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504-6485
Fax: (616) 459-4140

Injured Baby

In the summer of 2011, a one-week old free-tailed pup was admitted with what appeared to be a severe bite wound to the forearm. Unfortunately, adult males sometimes bite baby bats who wander into their territory, and that appeared to be the case here. The wound was severely infected and would have cause a painful death to the pup in the wild. We treated the pup with antibiotics, pain medication and applied sterile Manuka honey to the wing twice daily. Within 10 days the wing was vastly improved. The pup continued to do well over the next 10 weeks. When full grown, and after receiving flight training, the pup was released back into the original colony where it was rescued.

Photos below were taken while the pup was nursing its milk formula from foam eye-shadow applicators which were removed from he wand. Click the photo to enlarge.

Click to enlarge

Mr. Impley

Mr. Impley is a Jamaican fruit bat who was retired to us in 1994 along with 14 of his roostmates. The bats were involved in DNA research, and samples of their ears and toes were removed using clippers. Needless to say, most of these bats were very frightened of people when they arrived. One bat, however, displayed a rather impish personality early on, so was affectionately dubbed “Mr. Imply” within a few days of his arrival.


A few of the bats who were retired to Bat World after being used in research. Click to enlarge.

Mr. Imply went into research as an adult so his exact age is unknown. In his younger years, he used to fly to caregivers to receive a special treat of melon, but as he has aged so did his desire to fly, so his twice-daily treats are now hand-delivered by his human caretakers while he hangs in a basket-roost that he shares with two elderly female bats of his same species. To date he is one of the oldest Jamaican fruit bats in captivity at 18 years and counting.



Mr. Impley holding a piece of his favorite treat, honey due melon. Photo taken when Imply was approximately 17 years old.  Click to enlarge.





March 1991 – May 2011

Stella, after arriving to Bat World Sanctuary. Click to enlarge.


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

Stella in her hammock and next to a food bowl.

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.

Sweet Stella in the flight enclosure. Click to enlarge.

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.

Happy Stella by her favorite toy. Click to enlarge.

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.



Mekki is a female hoary bat that arrived injured during the winter of 2005. She was found hibernating amongst a group of dead trees, along a forest line in central Texas, by Mike Tyler and his daughter Melissa. Quite often dead or dying trees are cut down in Texas during the winter months and the timber is used to fuel fireplaces. Given the fact that trees are oftentimes brought down with chainsaws, Mekki’s fate could have been much worse. Mr. Tyler explained to us that he had no idea that some bats hibernate in trees. During the process of cutting down the tree the family dog had started barking and refused to stop, so he put down his chainsaw to investigate. It was then that Melissa, age 10, saw Mekki climbing up along the tree trunk dragging an injured wing.

Fluffy Mekki roosting with friends, a free-tailed bat and an evening bat. Click to enlarge.

Melissa had recently learned about bats in science class at her school. During her studies she had visited the Bat World website and learned what to do if you find a bats. She instructed her father to use a glove to rescue the bat because it might bite out of fear. He secured Mekki within the folds of an old t-shirt and placed her inside a box, and they drove home to call Bat World. A few hours later they arrived at our back door. Mekki was found to have open fractures to three fingers but otherwise she was in fine shape (and very lucky!). Her fingers were stabilized and she received pain medication and antibiotics to prevent her wounds from becoming infected.

Mekki is an extremely docile bats whose injuries prevented her from being returned to the wild. She enjoys her natural habitat cage and roosting with other non-releasable bats that share her housing.

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