The first bat of the new spring has arrived. She is a western broadnosed bat, weighs 6 grams, and has fur thr colour of dark chocolate.
Last night she must have decided she had the perfect roost, but when the sun rose she discovered that the perfect roost was, in fact, the plate-glass window in front of The Daily Liberal. One of their reporters rang me and said he'd found a baby bat. It wasn't a baby, of course, it was fully grown.
All the handling and being-shoved-in-a-box had woken her, so by the time I arrived she was really active and excitable.
I felt under her armpits for nipple, but they're tiny so she doesn't have a pup stashed away. Anyway, there's nothing wrong with her so I'll try to feed her tonight and let her go at dusk. If there is a pup it'll be ok.
She is Bat F for this year but I don't have a name yet.
Fran The Bat
She's gone! At Dusk I took her from the bat tent and shoved a dead meal worm into her mouth. She tried spat it out, looked surprised as she licked her lips, then scarfed it down in a few seconds. I kept feeding worms to her until she stopped; about 15 worms in all.
At 7pm I took her back to the newspaper office and let her out of the bag. She scampered all over my arms, onto my shirt, back down to the bag, and then did her wing stretches. After 10 minutes of that she launched.
I watched her zoom around the front of the newspaper office before disappearing up the dark alley in front of me. A few seconds later I saw a bat swoop on the moths flying around a lone fluorescent light at the end of the alley.
I only had her for a few hours. Oddly enough she wasn't totally pissed off at me, which was a nice change.
This is interesting.
Orphaned flying-foxes raised in captivity and fed commercially grown fruit still prefer native fruits and blossoms, and turn their noses up at the old food once they have been given a taste of what they would normally eat in the wild.
I keep telling people they only go for the commercial crops because they can't find anything else to eat. No one believes me.
I've had no bat rescues this summer. Aparently all the learner-flyers got their full licenses without my help, and the adults are being especially careful of cats, pools, and houses.
They're still around. At nights I can hear the metallic TING of the white-striped freetails and the ultrasonic jack-hammer-to-the-head of the wattled bats. I hope the drought hasn't knocked them around too much.
I spoke too soon. Tonight I picked up a young broadnosed bat with concussion. She is the same size and age as Donk from last year, so I think she's a Learner Flyer, just got her wings and still a bit wobbly out there.
I think I'll name her Florence, after the chief engineer in the comic Freefall.
When I picked her up last night she was very dozey, probably due to concussion. She couldn't roll onto her stomach when I flipped her onto her back - a sign of head injury. This morning she was a little brighter, and tonight she was very active. I tried feeding her a meal worm.
She growled and exposed her teeth at me. I shoved in a worm. She clamped down on it and after a few seconds spat it out. She looked rather surprised and licked her lips. I put the worm at the end of her nose, and after licking it a few times she clamped down and munched like crazy. That worm lasted 5 seconds. She ate 13 meal worms, all the while making happy peeping noises. Right now she's back in the cloth tent. I'll feed her more later.
Florence is a broadnosed bat, like Donk was and about the same age, except Donk is now 12 months older and presumably much wiser.
Florence is doing well. She scarfed down 15 worms last night. I made her pick them up off ground instead of handing them to her one at a time. She was rather successful but not entirely. In the end I had to hand the last few to her, earning a couple of nipped fingertips when I was too slow. I threw a dozen dead worms into the tent but she didn't pick them up.
She still sleeps on the floor instead of hanging, preferring to hide under a fold of cloth instead of inside the handkerchief I've pinned to the wall. I hope this changes soon.
Becoming tame through handling won't be an issue. She is rather annoyed at her current situation and lets me know at every opportunity.
Tonight, when I went to get Florence form her tent, I found her hanging upside down in the cloth strips. This is very good news! Whatever was ailing her appears to have gone. And she ate 17 mealworms by doing the Banzai Food Pile Dive Of Death.* Things are looking good.
We went flying tonight! Florence did her stretching exercises, zoomed around the room, landed on me and bit my fingers. Then she flew around some more and landed on the tent before scooting inside. She at 15 worms from the lid and settled down for the night. I left a pile of worms in the lid in case she wants a snack.
I can see her going bush before the end of next week.
Savaged By Hamsters
I always think it's amusing to consider being attacked by a very small animal.
I can tell you now it bloody hurts. I picked up a bat this morning who had spent the night clinging to a swimming pool skimmer box. He's another young broadnosed bat, like Florence, except he thought he was a carnivore like Vampyrum Spectrum and went the fang. I'm not exaggerating when I say he savaged my hand: he bit me 7 times, drawing blood each time. That's like having 14 sewing pins stabbed into the side of my index finger and palm.
I've had the rabies shots so I'm happy that I won't get lyssavirus, but I soaked my hand in undiluted laundry bleach just to make sure. It stung a bit.
He's another young learner-flyer, weighs 5 grams and has a wingspan of 13cm.
When I weighed him the display on the scales showed "5g" then flickered and showed "bat." I wondered how it knew.
Then the battery went flat. heh.
I let this morning's bat go tonight. There was nothing worng with him, apart from hating everything. I'll be letting Florence go tomorrow night. I have to arrange a time with the people of the house where she was picked up.
I am batless once again. I'd kept Florence longer than I would have normally because she had a 5mm tear in her wing. I wanted to see it heal a little before she went bush. Over the last seven days it had reduced in size by half. I decided it was time.
She munched 10 worms and drank some water, then I loaded her and the tent into the car and headed out to her estate on the edge of town. It took her ages to do her grooming. She sat on my hand and goomed, and groomed, and groomed. Then she looked around for a while, stretched her wings... and folded them up. Then she stretched her wings... and folded them up again. I began to winder if she wanted to go.
But she did. After few more minutes of looking around she pooped on my hand and launched into the night.
*open mouth, push face into food, swallow what goes in.
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