178 bats admitted…at once

July 8, 2015


By Joanna Fitzgerald

Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital


262 animals admitted this past week

Those 178 Brazilian free-tailed bats, along with a common grackle, were among the 262 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida last week. Other admissions include three Carolina wrens, a gray kingbird, a snowy egret, three gopher tortoises and four opossums.

Bats found under royal palm tree

Liz Harmon, a staff member at the Naples Zoo, was walking in her neighborhood late one evening after a storm had passed through and found a mass of Brazilian free-tailed bats under a royal palm tree.

A dead piece of the palm tree had fallen to the ground and the baby bats nesting in the tree fell with the piece of vegetation. Liz and two members of her family contained the bats and called the wildlife hospital for help.

A young Brazilian free-tailed bat is examined by von Arx Wildlife Hospital staff. The bat was one of a group of 178 that fell to the ground after a storm.

Three staff members returned to the hospital to assist with the check in of the bats. While the three staff members gave each bat a physical exam, a wildlife hospital intern and one volunteer kept a running tally of the number of bats being examined. 177 baby bats and one adult were rescued. Of those, only 16 had injuries so severe they needed to be humanely euthanized.

As soon as the bats arrived at the hospital, I contacted Ian Orlikoff, owner of Signature Tree Care, to see if he would be able to help re-nest the bats the following day.

I was worried about his availability since it would require his help on Saturday the Fourth of July. Ian replied immediately and said he would be glad to help.

With Ian’s expert assistance all the surviving baby bats were returned to their nest in the Royal Palm in less than 30 minutes. We are incredibly grateful for his assistance and can’t thank him enough for his dedication to helping native wildlife.


If you ever encounter a bat or other mammal in need of assistance, please call the wildlife hospital before taking action.

Human safety is our first priority.


Get involved

Please visit our website at www.conservancy.org and learn about the many opportunities there are to get involved.

Volunteers are vital in our efforts to assist native wildlife.

If you are unable to give of your time as a volunteer, become a member or donate.

However you choose to become involved, your support will help the Conservancy continue to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Conservancy of SWFL’s story.