Bat care certainly has its ups and downs for me. Moments of elation when you get to release a bat back into the wild when you’d thought there was slim chance of it happening, contrasting with heartbreaking times when a bat’s injuries are so severe and clearly painful that the only humane thing to do is to put the poor thing to sleep. But 9 days ago I experienced the most simultaneously terrifying and exciting things to ever happen to me.
Diddy was a little bat that came in earlier this year with a torn tail membrane. It’s never good news to get a female into care in the winter, because they run the risk of the warmth and food triggering pregnancy. After mating in the autumn, female bats use ‘delayed fertilisation’ to ensure that they don’t become pregnant before hibernation, which in turn ensures that babies (called ‘pups’) are born only when there is sufficient food for them to grow and survive.
Alas, Diddy’s torn tail meant that she could not be released, and we knew that this meant she was running the risk of giving birth in captivity, which is also not ideal, but we really had no other choice, so decided to let her heal and hope that the healing happened fast enough so that she could be released and give birth in the wild.
She did amazingly, with the tear in her tail completely healing up, so we decided to test fly her – she cornered like an ace, and we decided that she could be released as soon as the weather improved. (Click here to see the video of her test flight on Youtube!) But two days later I went to clean out her tank and found a little surprise waiting for me!
P-Diddy (Pup-Diddy) is pictured above, and at 9 days old is an absolutely perfect little male pipistrelle! Finally old enough for me to take a quick peek and snap a couple of photos, I’m delighted to share the pictures with you. He’s growing so fast, it is easy to see what Diddy is doing with 30+ mealworms a day! She’s on a diet of extra calcium, lots of water, and as much food as she wants, and it has resulted in a very strong little boy. She’s such a fantastic mother and it is a rare privilege to bear witness to this little miracle in my living room. Here’s a few more photos of mum & pup at 2 days old, almost hairless (top) and today at 9 days (below)…
– Morgan 🙂