July 2002 – June 2005
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.