Friday, November 7, 2014

Helping Baby Bats

Bats generally conjure up images of vampires, Dracula, and scary Halloween monsters. People don't think of bats the way they do of cuddly kittens and puppies; and over the years, bats have gotten a bad reputation. Despite the myths, bats aren't vicious, blood thirsty creatures, but docile, shy animals that are essential to the ecosystem by controlling mosquitoes and pollinating plants. In many parts of the world, including the USA, bats are a threatened species due to loss of natural habitat, sport hunting, and disease

The Tolga Bat Hospital in Atherton, Australia, rescues and releases hundreds of bats each year. Last year, about 300 orphaned bat pups were cared for by Tolga and safely returned to the wild. A baby bat usually becomes orphaned when its mother becomes too sick to feed it or when it falls ill to tick paralysis. The care for these winged babies is very similar to that of human babies. They drink milk from a bottle, love to be swaddled in a blanket, and are bathed regularly. After a bath, baby bats also like have their fur combed. 

In addition to caring for babies, Tolga also rehabilitates injured adult bats. The hospital relies solely on volunteers and donations. It also offers tours, which cost $18 for adults and $10 for children.

In the USA, we can help bats by building or buying bat houses for our property. It's relatively inexpensive and easy to do!

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