Nosey Nostrils

The winter of 2006 brought severe temperature swings in Texas, making it difficult for hibernating species of bats. Warm weather perhaps made the little bat stir from his sleep behind the bark of the tree that he had chosen for his winter roost. His actions did not go unnoticed by a large grackle. The bird used his sharp, black bill force the tiny bat to the ground. The scene was witnessed by a farmer, who originally thought the bird was pecking at some insects until he saw the small, winged creature struggling beneath the pecking grackle. He ran over to rescue the bat, and soon realized the little fellow needed urgent care.

When the injured bat arrived to Bat World, it was difficult to see his tiny face because it was soaked in blood. He was an adult evening bat, barely 2” in length as opposed to the nearly 13” grackle that attacked him. His head was grossly swollen from the injury, and his left wing was damaged.

After we administered pain medication, we gently cleaned his face to analyze the full extent of his injuries. Miraculously, his eyes were uninjured. We winced, however, to discover that his miniature nose was almost torn in half. We pieced his nostril back together and cleansed the open wounds on his injured wing. His tiny eyes blinked up at us as we were helping him, as if to say thank you. Our little battered soldier of the woods received antibiotics, fluids, and warmth for the next 72 hours. The swelling of his head slowly subsided. The following weeks were very difficult for him because he could not eat properly. His damaged nostril made it impossible to breathe through his nose while he was being hand-fed, so he frequently needed to stop and breathe through his mouth between tiny mouthfuls of food.

We were so very pleased, that a mere 3 months later, he was able to eat normally. The splendor of his good looks and personality speaks for itself, despite the fact that he is now marred by a deformed nostril on his left side and occasionally has to breath through his mouth. Mr. Nosey Nostrils, as he was affectionately named, is not releasable because of his injuries, but thankfully he has settled into the non-releasable bat colony. He continues to roosts with Mexican free-tail bats and is very partial to a pipistrelle bat named Holly, with whom he snuggles everyday.

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