In the summer 2005 we received a baby bat, approximately two weeks old, slowly suffocating with a punctured lung. A punctured lung can result from blunt force trauma, rib fractures, or a foreign object entering through the torso and into the lung.

In the case in larger mammals, the lung will sometimes reinflate after the air is evacuated by inserting a needle or a chest tube into the thoracic cavity. Air will then flow back into the lung as a result of the pressure differential between the outside and inside of the lung. However, due to the small size of insectivorous bats, this procedure would likely to cause further damage.

Through Puff, who was hand-raised to a healthy adult and then released, we discovered that tiny punctures may seal on their own in microbats so long as the air that has escaped into the body wall is evacuated.  Click photos below to enlarge.



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