Although I generally work with reptiles, my other great love is working
with bats. Flying foxes are such amazing unique animals, often
misunderstood and feared for the wrong reasons. As you can see from this
photo, they are inquisitive animals who have strong emotional displays.
Mentally, they are the equivalent of a three year old human child with
the ability to solve problems, play games, have basic understanding of
voice interactions and express emotions.
Robbie is a Black Headed Flying Fox - a vulnerably listed species in
NSW. He came into care at just 17 days old when he was found alone on
the ground at Casino. He was clinging to the ladder of a slipper dip in
a child playground when a toddler almost trod on him. The child's mum
called us to come and get him. Local bat handler Melanie was able to
pick him up and bring him straight to me for care. He was cold, and
distraught when he came into care, but responded well to treatment and
was soon gaining weight. Robbie would spend 60 days in my care before he
was transfered to a release creche. The release creche is a huge flight
aviary located right next to a wild colony. Of a night, the wild bats
come down and talk to the rehabilitated juveniles, educating them as
they do the wild juveniles of the colony. Within no time, our once tame
bats are no longer needing human support, and reject human contact. When
this occurs, the creche doors are opened. Within moments, our hand
raised babies fly off to join the wild bats without a thank you or
second thought - just the way it should be!
Photo: Alissa (Grey Headed Flying Fox) is on the left and Robbie (Black
Headed Flying Fox) is on the right.