It was a hot, dry desert day in 1998 when a New Mexico lizard researcher came across a dust covered pallid bat. The bat was lying on the ground, weak and dehydrated. Back at the research station, the bat was given some water and a meal of crickets (a favorite food of pallid bats). After the emaciated bat had eaten his fill he seemed to smile in gratitude.
The researcher named the bat “Orkin” due to his ability to eat just about any kind of nasty bug. Intending to release bat, the researcher kept Orkin, feeding him his fill of bugs until he was strong enough to fly again. However, on the night of his release, Orkin continually bumped into walls during a practice flight inside the researcher’s cabin. Closer inspection revealed that Orkin was missing a key part of his ear, called the tragus, a flap of skin in a bat’s ear that is vital to echolocation and foraging for insects. Without the necessary “tools” to do his job in the wild, Orkin could not survive. His injured ear was the reason he was found grounded and starving in the first place. Orkin came to live at Bat World shortly thereafter.
He lives with other non-releasable bats of various species, in a simulated minature cave which sits inside a large, natural habitat flight cage. During the day Orkin likes to snuggle and sleep with free-tailed bats.
At night, he flies until his heart’s content, then goes back to polish off mealworms and crickets that fill dishes inside the cave.
Orkin has grown quite portly in his old age life, although he still enjoys life to the fullest. He was retired from the Adopt-a-bat program in 2012.