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Wort and Me - The Real Story

I rescued a lesser long-eared bat from a beer bottle in april 2001. I posted the rescue diary to alt.callahans and alt.lifestyle.furry, as I always do, and saved the files and photos for eventual html'ing on my homepage.

The Daily Liberal contacted me and did a story about Wort and his adventures. All the people around town know me as "That bloke who found a bat in a beer bottle." I thought nothing more of it.

In August Jeanne posted this to me in a.c:

"I subscribe to a Yahoo group called "Gotta have Jokes" where I get a selection of strange and unusual messages. Many are "news of the wierd" type things. Imagine my surprise when I got this one!

---------- Brew-Loving Bat Trapped in Beer Bottle ----------

BROCKLEHURST, New South Wales - Too much alcohol will make anyone batty, but what do bats get when they are drunk? One poor little creature became intoxicated after becoming trap- ped in a beer bottle in Australia. He must have had one heck of a hangover because he spent a week recovering from the ordeal in the care of a local vet. No one knows why the bat chose to go into the bottle in the first place. According to Dennis Whitton, who helped take care of the bat, "It's not like beer is a natural part of a bat's diet. I have to say a beer bottle is the strange

and it DID cut off like this at the end. Still, I thought it interesting that one of ours' story is making the rounds.."

Jeanne

They got a few details wrong. Only one of the locale vets is interested in native animals, and even he won't touch bats.

While playing the Google Me-me game searching for my name, I came across the Heart Of THe Valley Hombrewers newsletter, which had the following under the heading "More Australian Beer Stories" :

"Brew-Loving Bat Trapped in Beer Bottle
BROCKLEHURST, New South Wales

Too much alcohol will make anyone batty, but what do bats get when they are drunk? One poor little creature became intoxicated after becoming trapped in a beer bottle in Australia. He must have had one heck of a hangover because he spent a week recovering from the ordeal in the care of a local vet. No one knows why the bat chose to go into the bottle in the first place. According to Dennis Whitton, who helped take care of the bat, "It's not like beer is a natural part of a bat's diet."

And the Norwegian newspaper had this to say about the flaggermus:

"I en hel uke måtte Dennis Whitton i New South Wales i Australia være sykepleier for en flaggermus som hadde gått på fylla i en ølflaske.

- Jeg har vært med å fjerne flaggermus før, så jeg kjenner litt til typen. Men det er nytt for meg at øl skulle inngå som en del av dietten deres, sier Whitton til Daily Liberal.

Flaggermusen hører til en insektspisende familie med små individer som bare er ute om natten. At den ikke var noen dreven dranker kom tydelig fram av formen.

- Han brukte en hel uke på å komme seg etter fyllekula. Han spiste godt, men aller mest var han forferdelig tørst, stakkar.

I henhold til dyrevernloven ble flaggermusen sluppet ut igjen der fra der hvor den ble funnet."

It seems like they picked up the truncated News Of The Weird article which was derived from the original Daily Liberal article.

So here's The Real Story:

Wort's Story

I told the fellow at Western Plains Glass who I was, then asked "Can you cut the ends off beer bottles without shattering them?"

"Certainly! We often turn them into beer glasses for people."

I told him what I wanted. There was such a long pause at the other end I though the line had gone dead. "Hullo?"

"I'm still here," he said eventually. "Um. Could you say that again?"

"I have a bat caught in a beer bottle, and I need someone to cut the end off so I can get him out."

"His head's stuck in?"

"No, he's crawled right in and I can't get him out."

"You mean right in as in-?"

"Right in."

"Right. You'd better bring it up."

Ten minutes later I walked into the shop, holding a rescue bag and the bottle. The bloke looked at the bottle and the little shadow inside, nodded and told me to follow him out to the workshop. Work stopped as everyone crowded around to look at the bat in the stubby. "How did he get in there?"

"With great difficulty, I expect," I said. "He's twice the size of the opening."

One of the workers bent forward to get a closer look. "Maybe he got in there as a baby and grew up. What? It was only a suggestion. Be like that then."

"Give me the cutter, Rick." Rick handed the glass cutter to the owner, mumbled that it was only a suggestion, and held the bottle while the other fellow scored around the outside. After a moment he pushed the heavy end of the cutter into the bottle, tapped the inside of the glass a few times, and the neck popped off.

I reached in and scooped out the bat. He reeked of beer and was very cold and wet.

I don't know if Wort will survive. I'm sure the beer didn't do him a real lot of good, especially if he drank it. Tonight I will rub him down with a warm, damp cotton bud and try to feed him. I don't think he'll eat much, especially if he is suffering from the bat-world's biggest hangover ever.

Bat W "Wort"
Weight 4g
Wing-span approx 25cm

I kept him in care for five days. He drank a LOT that first day but didn't eat anything. I could understand that. The following days were much better in that he ate more than he drank. Finally he was ready to release.

"Hullo! It's Brooke from the Daily Liberal," said the voice on the phone. "There is a rumour going around the office that you rescued a bat from a beer bottle. Is that true?"

"Yes," I said. "He's due for release tonight."

"Can we come up and get some photos?"

So at 10am we locked ourselves in the conference room at the office. It's the only room with no corners or a/c vents he could disappear into. We laughed about bat drinking habits, hang-overs, and I told them about bats in general. Then I pulled Wort from his bag and held him while Brooke grimmaced.

"Oh. He's... cute," she said in a voice that indicated she was happy with the concept of bats in general, but not with actually being near one.

Tony the photographer snapped some shots. Me holding the bat. The bat on my hand. The bat on my hand with his ears up. The bat on my hand with his ears up and his teeth showing. The bat on my hand with his ears up and his wings spread.

Oops.

Brooke panicked and cowered in a corner while Wort swooped and zoomed around the room. Tony took some shots of the Intrepid Reporter being trepid. Brooke swore at him. He laughed.

"Um, ya know," I said, "That corner is rather dark. He's probably trying to land there."

Brooke moved from one side of the room to the other without appearing to pass through the space in the middle.

Sure enough, Wort landed in the corner and I caught him in one quick movement. They thanked me and went back to write up a story with a naff headline like "Batty about bats" or something.

12pm, Dan turned up. Dan is the fellow who found Wort and brought him in. I handed over the bag and gave him instructions on Bats, the releasing of.

So Wort is back home, carrying the drink/flying message to all who listen. He now weighs 7 grams, almost doubling his weight in 5 days.

So now you know.



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