Yep, that's me. Yep, that's a bat. And Yep...We're kissing!
Her name is Cleobatra. Her sister is Batsheba. They're little brown bats.
Bertie & I first got them before their eyes had even opened. They were about the size of my little finger, with absolutely no hair. They looked like the tiny little monkies. I didn't know at the time how close we were to the truth...
A couple of points about bats:
They aren't rodents. They're primates. Yes, PRIMATES. The same thing as monkies and apes. The same thing as you & I. Their wings are actually their webbed hands. Take a close look next time you see a picture of a bat.
They aren't blind. They see very well, in fact. They just have this added gift of "sonar" that we don't have...not to mention the gift of flight.
Okay. So...We got in contact with this lady at the Atlanta Zoo who has written books about bats. I ordered one. But in the meantime, she said we had to get them rehydrated immediately, or they would die.
The first vet we called refused us. He said all bats had rabies, and to keep them away from him. This was a VET! He was absolutely wrong, of course.
After that, we found this wonderful lady vet who gave then Ringer's solution and saved their lives.
We took them home and put them on puppy formula with a syringe every two hours, day and night. After awhile, we were able to introduce water. And finally, they went on their regular diet, which was from 3 to 40 mealworms a feeding once a day, and a little water to wash the little suckers down.
After their feeding, they were supposed to fly. They needed the exercise, and, well, they were bats.
Flying was never a problem with Sheba. She enjoyed it. Cleo was another matter, however. After she ate, Cleo just wanted to curl up in the crook of my neck...NO, not to suck my blood. Wrong kind of bat...And she would wiggle around, getting comfortable...And she would start to purr. Yes, PURR. Well, maybe purr isn't the right word. It came out more like a "hum" because she was so little. She would do this for a couple of minutes before she went to sleep, just like a cat. Cleo was a fat, happy, content little bat.
Almost three years after we got them, tragedy struck. I had built them a special cage, just like the lady said in her book. I had made sure they could and would eat and drink by themselves, without our feeding them. And then we went on a 2 1/2 day vacation.
When we got back, the very first thing I did was go see about them. I took Cleo out and got her some water. I could feel her vibrating in my hand and knew she was purring. She tried to drink the water, but couldn't. Then I realized that she was very weak, and it hit me. She was severely dehydrated!
We jumped in the car right away. Bertie drove as I held Cleo in my hands. She tried to make her squeek, but when she opened her little mouth no sound came out. She was holding onto me with her hands (wings). Finally, she put my finger in her mouth and held on until the life ebbed out of her little body. We were too late.
Sheba lived five years, until one July day when Bertie and I came home to find the power off and the temperature over a hundred degress in the house. Sheba was gone by the time we looked into her cage.
I'm not sure if I would want to raise any more bats. But one thing I know...Raising Cleobatra and Batsheba was one the most rewarding, enriching, and enlightning events in my life.