Pregnant bat gives birth at von Arx Wildlife Hospital
By Joanna Fitzgerald | Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital
An evening bat was among the 117 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week.
The evening bat was found on a driveway in a gated community in North Naples. The bat’s rescuers saw blood on the driveway near the bat as they contained her in a ventilated box. The rescuers brought the bat to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital early in the evening the following day.
A physical exam showed the bat had an increased respiratory effort, her mentation was dull, although she did respond defensively when handled, and she was approximately twice the average weight of an adult evening bat. A radiograph revealed the bat was a pregnant female; she was carrying two babies (hence, the unusually high weight).
The bat was placed in a quiet recovery space in the hospital to rest. Once stabilized, staff provided the bat fluids and hand-fed her an insect diet that she eagerly ate. Rehab staff member, Nicole LeVasseur, researched the husbandry and special care required when rehabilitating a pregnant bat since this was a novel situation for our facility.
Two days after admission the bat gave birth. The bat has been staying calm in her enclosure; handling has been kept to an absolute minimum to reduce stress on the mother bat who is keeping her babies tucked under her wings as they cling to her chest. Staff has only caught glimpses of the baby bats as they wiggle to stay tight under their mother’s wings.
In my opinion, the story of this mother bat is a perfect example of the resiliency of wild animals. First, the bat was delayed professional care for close to twenty-four hours after being found on the ground. Then, when placed in a foreign environment at the hospital, the bat has tolerated the situation; she gave birth and is properly caring for her babies; pretty terrific example of motherhood in the animal kingdom.
Please, if you see an animal needing assistance, don’t delay in transporting the animal to the wildlife hospital. The sooner a sick, injured or orphaned animal receives professional medical care, the less suffering the animal endures while the opportunity to make a full recovery increases significantly.
Two double-crested cormorants, six brown pelicans, an eastern screech owl, two northern mockingbirds, four mourning doves, three common grackles, a Florida softshell turtle, three grey squirrels, five eastern cottontails, a loggerhead shrike, a Virginia opossum, a brown thrasher, a great horned owl, a burrowing owl, two royal terns, a bald eagle, a Florida box turtle, a blue jay and two gopher tortoises were released this past week.
Opportunities to Help
This is incredibly important, please visit the Conservancy website at www.conservancy.org and act now to protect native wildlife before it’s too late. Collier County has come to a crossroads and its future hangs in the balance. Without your voice, Collier County is poised to approve new villages that will threaten wildlife and our quality of life.