When the tiny, barely furred baby bat was found on a sidewalk in Eureka, it seemed that his barely begun life was already at its end. The kind-hearted people who found him, scooped him up, cold and non-responsive, and brought him to Humboldt Wildlife Care Center in Bayside, California.
A Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) just a couple of grams in weight, we first stabilized him with warmth and fluids. Initially we hoped to return him to his colony and his mother, but we had no idea where that colony was. His rescue location left no clues. It would be up to us to raise him.
This species of bat matures fast and can be independent as early as four weeks old! Our task was to get him there!
Feeding the little bat in the early days of his care.
Getting older, his ears are large and his fur is soft! 4 grams of magnificent mammal splendor!
In this video you can see how much he liked his milk replacer!
It wasn’t long from this time that he was weaned from milk to mealworms. First we let him lick the guts out of dead worm. He rejected worm guts in no uncertain terms, seemingly with an indignant air: “I am a bat and bats like milk!” Within a week he singing a different tune. “Give me worms, lots of worms and forget about that milk!”
After five weeks in care he began to fly. Our time with him was nearing the end. At his release we provided a small shelter with worms inside incase he needed them.
The moment before we opened the door…
The joy of seeing a young mammal take his first flight is a rare one indeed, but less so if your patient is a bat!
After several laps around the open pasture where he was released, we lost sight of the little fierce hunter of night insects!
All bats, including Little Brown Bats, are often villified. While it’s true that bats are a vector species for rabies, the percentage of bats that actually test positive is very small! Most bats are perfectly healthy! Still, if you find a bat on the ground, or in a strange place, call us before you handle him. While it’s unlikely that she or he has rabies (no bat that we’ve sent for testing in the last 7 years has come back positive) if you are bitten or scratched you may be exposing yourself to that terrible virus and in either case we have to have the bat tested, which costs the bat his life. Call us before you act, and if you can’t call us, always wear protective leather gloves. Never let children or pets near a bat that you think might be sick.
It was a joy to raise and release this healthy baby. It’s a joy and a privilege to help any wild neighbor. All it takes to make it possible is your support. In our busiest season, with our demanding caseload, we need you everyday! Please help us provide what our patients need. If we weren’t here this young bat would’ve been left to die a cold lonely death, on a sidewalk in the middle of bat-nowhere. Thank you for helping us help him! Donate HERE
photos: Laura Corsiglia and Bird Ally X
A great way to help us help wildlife! and have a darn good time doing it too! Barntini!!!!