den: (rescues)
A couple of hours ago I was breaking a young kid out of the medium security Juvenile Justice Centre on the edge of town. He was a young little red flying-fox, and had smacked into the mesh security fence around the centre some time last night. He managed to hang on but in his struggles one leg had become twisted and he couldn't let go of the mesh.

I was signed in at the front desk and had to leave all my "contraband" ie phone and camera. So no photos. Then Ivan The Guard escorted me through two security gates, paused at the loading dock to pick up a long ladder, then through another set of security gates and into the exercise yard. None of the juveniles were around because it was feedinglunch time, so it was just Ivan, me, and high in the fence, the bat.

The fence is 4m high, with the top 1m being taken up by a round anti-throw-over drum. The bat was immediatly below the drum. This was a) handy because he was shaded by the drum, and b) worrying because he was 3m from the ground, hence the ladder. I helped Ivan set up the ladder, then climbed for several hours though the clouds into the stratosphere to the bat. The flying-fox was grumpy and generally unhappy to see me. As usual.Which was fine, because I was unhappy about being up a ladder high enough to be badly injured or seriously killed should I fall.

"Hi! I'm Den and I'll be your rescuer today."

"Grr! SHREIK! Snarl snarl hiss grr."

It took me 20 minutes to work the flying-fox's claws out of the wire and my arms felt like they were going to fall off, but I did it! The bat was securely wrapped in a towel and I worked my way back to the ground.

Next stop was the Zoovets, where I left the bat in their care. Vet Technician Jane liked my gloves. I may be innoculated against Lyssavirus and Rabies, but I am not innoculated against teeth, the pain, the gashing arteries and the spurting blood. I'll know Monday if the bat is okay. His wings are fine but one of his legs looks a bit odd from being twisted for so long.

And there wasn't a camera crew in sight. Bugger!
den: (rescues)
The Kingfisher has an injured wing but it's not broken, so a week of R&R and grumpyness at his rescuer is all he needs.

The three peewees are growing fast and can be transferred into the big cage to get some flappage in. THe big cage is still filthy from the magpies so I'd better clean it out on Saturday.

The little bat was bouncing off the walls of the tent last night, so I let her go.

I needed the room. )
den: (rescues)
3 peewees
1 kingfisher
and... )
den: (bats)
Fritter now weighs 5g, up from 4g when I got him. 1 gram doesn't sounds like much but it equals 25% of his original body weight. I noticed he's getting teeth when he got too excited this morning and grabbed a fold of skin in his mouth. I can sympathise with mothers feeding teething babies and that was the tough skin of my hand; I can't imagine what a bitten nipple would feel like.

No, I am not going to experiment with Fritter.
den: (bats)
Fritter is a juvenile, pre-flight western broadnosed bat. He'd fallen from his roost and was found by a fisherman. Fritter was hanging onto a bridge pylon about 10cm above the river. A hungry murray cod was circling below. Another few hours and Fritter would have been fish food. He was very thin and thirsty when I got him, so a quick feed of Biolact was in order.

My first bat for some time!

Right now he is in a recovery tent, hanging between strips of cloth.

And the photos )
den: (bats)
Today I rescued a little forest bat from a schoolbus. She weighs 5 grams, and is cranky, bitey, and utterly unimpressed with being handled by me. ie. a typical little forest bat.

There is nothing wrong with her, so I'll feed her up over the next few days and let her go on Saturday evening. Photos to come.
den: (Default)
From Jenner's email:

DW>>By the way, no bats in your comic! You're excluding 1/4 of the mammal species! 8-)

J>Patience, patience. So many species, so little time.


So bats could yet appear in Doc Rat!

And in other bat news: baby tube-nosed bat.
den: (bugger)
I think Freddie is dying. Usually by now a healthy bat is eating more than when they come in, but Freddie is eating about half of what he ate on the first night, and all of that had to be pushed in with a toothpick. The other feeds he lapped up the food, this one was a struggle. Other nights he was climbing around the bag, tonight he was listless and hardly struggled. I don't think he'll last more than a day or two.
den: (bats)
Freddie still refuses to eat whole meal worms, so tonight I squeezed the wormy goodness onto a plastic spoon so he wouldn't have any crunchy bits to worry about. Then I folded a piece of coth around him so he couldn't move and dipped his nose into the mush. He had to lick his face to clean it, and that made more slide down the spoon into his face, so he had to lick more. I estimate he ate the guts of 7 worms; not bad, but it would be better if he ate the cruchny bits too.

At one point he took in a long bit of worm intestine. He paused, flicked his head, and resumed eating. The guts landed on the end of my nose. Since I had a bat in one hand and a spoon in the other I had to wait until he'd finished and was put away before I could remove it.

Little bastard did it on purpose.
den: (rescues)
Duckies

The two little ducks are much larger and have been moved to the day cage outside. That cage has a grass floor and shallow water dish for them to bath and sunbake as required because their down is not yet fully waterproof and they get drenched. The UV will do them good, too. They still don't have feathers which means I have to bring them in at night and supply them with a 40W light bulb for heating. They are really wild and panic when anyone goes near, so release will be easy.

Blue Tongue Lizard

He had no injuries so I let him go in the garden. My mix of I Can't Believe It's Not Molluscs is vanishing every day and it's not mice eating it. I had to stop putting bananas into the mix because I can't afford to buy them at the moment.

Shelley

Her wire frame and super glue supports are rock-hard; there is no movement along the crack in her shell. When her nutral-cure sillicone is fully dry I'll re-introduce her to water so she can eat. Snake-neck tortoises don't have tongues and require their heads to be underwater so they can eat. Next Week she'll get wet and wild, with shredded greens.

Freddie

Bat is being difficult. He refuses to eat all the meal worms, which means I have to squeeze the creamy wormy goodness out of the bodies and smear it on his face, forcing him to lick himself clean. Enough goes in to keep him alive but he's still thin. I hope soon he'll get a taste for the worms and eat the whole lot. When that happens I can get him to self-feed from a dish and move him into a bat-tent. Right now he's still in the rescue bag.
den: (bats)
One of the vets rang me at work to say they had a baby bat. What they had was a fully grown, and pissed off, little forest bat. He's a juvenile pup from last year, and is still on his provisional flyer's licence - one step up from L plates, but not much of a step. I don't know what's wrong with him. There is nothing physical that I can find, but something must be wrong; you don't find them on the ground for no reason. I was amused to see the Vet's nurse had filled out an animal report form listing me as the owner and the bat's name as "Freddy."


Also... )
den: (cranky)
The bat that scratched the young lady has been tested. The results were negative for lyssavirus. Sighs of relief all round.

Still, some people...
den: (cranky)
Most readers know I'm a bat rescuer/rehabber, and long-lime readers know one of my licence requirements is that I have to be innoculated against rabies. Now, Australia is the only continent that is rabies-free but bats can carry a similar disease called lyssavirus. The percentage of bats with this disease is minute; much less than the half of 1% of bats with rabies in other countries. The problem is you can't tell which bats carry lyssavirus so all bats have to be treated as though they have it,

Last Thursday I had a call from a lady in Eugowra. Her 16 y.o daughter had rescued an injured flying-fox, and in the process the bat scratched the young lady and drew blood. The mother wanted my advice. I explained about Lyssavirus, and how it had killed two people in the last 5 years, and that it's not as virulent as Rabies so the daughter won't collapse in slobbering fits tomorrow. Lyssavirus has a very long incubation, about 2 years, but when symptoms present it's too late. Encephalitus, coma and death are like that. It's time to start planning the young lady's post-exposure shots now.

The bat will have to be tested, too. The vets will have to take brain tissue from the animal to test it for infection, and since it has a broken wing and will be euthanased anyway...

Today I had a call from National Parks in Forbes. A lady from Eugowra has handed in a little red flying fox. I asked if it was the one that had scratched the daughter, and it was. Nola from NPWS wanted to know what to do. Apparently they had a bloke driving up to Dubbo, so I told her to get him to take the bat to the zoovets at Western Plains Zoo. I then rang the vets to let them know it was coming. The woman who brought the bat in didn't want it euthanased, and Nola said she seemed unconcerned about the injury to her daughter.

I am a greenie conservationist environmentalist. What we have here is a very real threat to human life. Even if the bat was totally uninjured I would still euthanase it myself even if it was a rare species, and the little red flying foxes are not rare. The bat must be tested for lyssavirus. Besides, it has a broken wing and there is no place for warm fuzzies here. Maybe it can go in the zoo with the one-legged wallabies to live its life while a kind-hearted young lady dies. NPWS and the zoovets are monitoring the situation and will keep me updated. I know that if something bad happens I'll really feel like crap even though it won't be my fault.

...

I finally got Friday's bat from Trangie. It was very dead. It's "injured leg" had been amputated, plus being stuck to the front of the car for two days, plus being shoved in a box for 4 days had been too much for it. Poor little forest bat.
den: (Photos)
Photos of the colony of little red flying foxes roosting in the middle of town.

lrff14

More bats.

lrff13

More bats! More! MORE! Many more photos )
den: (bats)
I went back to the colony when the sun came out and finished off the roll of film. I positioned myself in the shade under a fly-way and got some shots of the bats backlit by the sun. I really hope these ones come out.
den: (bats)
There are at least 5000 bats in the colony by the river. They're roosting in the trees between the LH Ford Bridge and Sandy Beach/Sir Roden Cutler Park. The river walk goes under the trees along the river bank, so I could get right up close to the bats and take some photos with my 600mm lens. I hope they come out.

People with dogs walked underneath the colony and talked in soft voices, so the bats were happy to hang about and groom themselves and feeling quite safe from the people. They asked me questions - I had a camera on a tripod so I must be an expert - and one lady commented that I must have heard that guy on the radio yesterday. "Er, yeah. Well actually..." I got embarrassed and admitted that I was the guy on the radio. We talked for a long while about animal rescues and bats, then they wandered off.

I would have stayed there longer but a loud lady with yappy dogs came by. By the time she reached the LH Ford bridge the entire colony was stirred up and flying along the river. I packed up and came home.

Today was a bit grey and misty. I'll go back tomorrow if it's sunny for better photos.
den: (bats)
I have just been interviewd by local radio 2DU about the huge mob of flying foxes that have colonized the trees near the centre of town. I probably won't hear it because I can't stand 2DU and the crap they play. Keith Urban should NOT be on a high-rotation play list.

I'll head to the river tomorrow to get some photos.

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