Its been a really sad day for me today, as one of the bats I’ve had in care, Sally, had to be put to sleep. She had come to me through another bat carer, who had resisted euthanising her (after seeing that she had a really bad wrist break) because Sally was eating, and was a very spirited bat. In fact, I’ve not known a bat so tough, and it was a very very hard decision. I’d had her in care for a few weeks, and in that time, the swelling had continued to decrease, and I thought that she may be on the mend. But upon handling her last night I noticed that the swelling had gone down to reveal a finger bone protruding through her wrist. Devastated, I knew what had to be done, and so today, sally is no longer in pain.
But that’s not the end of the story. I’m a big believer that even bats who arrive into care too late are a chance for us to learn something, to constantly improve the quality of our care, and the knowledge of our carers, so I took the opportunity to take a few photos of the break, so I can teach trainees how to recognise it, what to do about it, and how to know if there is any hope.
But it was while I was photographing her injuries that I noticed the photo above. That raised line in her wing membrane (called a patagium) is a scar! During the time in care, in spite of the fact that she had a wrist wound that she would never be able to recover from, she had been healing her wing membrane. It is quite normal for small tears and holes to heal, but this was quite spectacular – a good few centimetres of what was once badly torn wing had ‘zipped up’ into a neat scar.
Its tragic that her wrist was damaged beyond repair, but I can sleep tonight knowing she’s not hurting anymore, and marvelling at her stamina, her spirit, and her amazing ability to heal.
– Morgan x