Saturday, 22 October 2011

Bats for Bats!

There is a bat colony right opposite our house, Mostly Pteropus alecto (The Black Flying Fox) but also some of the nomadic red Flying Foxes camp out with them at times.


Last week when I was walking home from the train station, in my very dark street to the house, I ran into a tiny baby fruitbat that was fluttering at a low level while being supervised by an older bat.  The poor little bat fell to the ground stunned, I was so worried.  


Bats in Australia are known carriers of both Lyssovirus and Hendra virus, so one must always be cautious when touching them. As I am a first aid officer at work I tend to carry around latex gloves with me in my work bag. While the older bat was circling the young one, that was conscious but looking scared on the road, I donned the gloves and carefully picked up the baby bat.


Older bat, did not seem scared and just circled me watching what I did. I stroked the baby bat with my gloved hand and then held it out palm outstretched to the older bat. The bat then gently swooped to the baby and took it from me and flew back to the colony.


I know these fruitbats are used to humans as they live amongst them, so I understand why they did not show fear, but I marvelled at the moment.


It was so lovely that the older bat seemed to know I was not intending to harm his/her young charge.


Bats are amazing!
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