A Day in the Life: Bat Caretaker

Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.
Charles Darwin

Hello fans of WRSE!

My name is Heike (pronounced Hy-ka, in case you were wondering) and am a part-time Wildlife Rehabilitator with WRSE.

I have had the immense pleasure of specializing in the rehabilitation of bats these past several months, and thought you might like to come along on my journey as I learn new things and witness their unique little personalities (bat-onalities?)

So many people tend to be afraid of, or even dislike, these special little creatures.  I think this is because we are so heavily influenced by the negative images and tales perpetuated by storytellers, moviemakers and the like.  Such fear! This is unfortunate.  They are absolutely vital to our ecosystem and they have absolutely no interest in getting into your hair or sucking your blood.  Not even Vampire bats really care about human blood (Plus, we don’t even have these in Alberta).  It probably tastes icky from all the junk food we humans eat (HAHA!).  Check out the fascinating details about Vampire Bats at http://www.animalplanet.com/mammals/vampire-bat-info.htm .

Okay, back to bats in Alberta.  All of our bats are ‘insectivorous’.  They only munch on bugs.  In fact, the tiniest bat, the Little Brown Bat, can eat about 600-900 mosquitoes in just one hour! And they say dogs are man’s best friend…absurd!

Over the next few weeks, I will introduce you to some of the bats I am currently rehabbing.  I have had five bats since September, two of which were released last fall, and three of which are still with me.  In order to help take the pressure off fellow staff on-site at WRSE, I am rehabbing these critters in my home. I have had great amusement (and a few panic attacks) during our time together.  I will try to share some photos and/or video clips of these critters as I get them, they are somewhat shy of paparazzi.  That being said, here’s your first look at the three bats in my care!

This is a female Silver-haired Bat.  Silver-haired Bats are so named because their dark-chocolate coloured fur is frosted with silver tips.  I’ll get a better photo for you in the future.  This little girl has been with me the longest (click photo to make it larger).Silver Haired bat 2014

This little fellow is a Big Brown Bat.  Note the lighter coloured fur on the body, while still maintaining a deep dark brown on the face, wings and ears (click photo to make it larger).  He’s very cheeky!

Big Brown Bat 2014

This fellow is also a Big Brown Bat.  He’s trying to look really ferocious while munching a mealworm, but I can’t help but think this looks more like a smile or a hearty laugh!  His “bat-onality” is quite different from the other Big Brown (click photo to make it larger).

Big Brown Bat (2) 2014

More on all of these little rascals on future blogs.

Until next time, here’s your homework (mwaah ha ha! And you thought you’d just be reading stuff!)…what are some myths about bats that you can dispel? E-mail your responses to education@wildlife-edm.ca

 

 

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