How To Safely Transport a Bat

by Jennifer Howard

A little while ago a big brown bat had woken up and needed to come to us. Sadly, they do occasionally get disturbed or uprooted during their hibernation and once awakened, they will not survive winter.

Great care must be taken to transport them safely. This article features a little female that was recently admitted to the Centre. The caring people were told to put her in a box, tape it closed, and put air holes in the box. Unfortunately, one of the air holes was too large. The bat got out, however, it was caught up again carefully and put back into the box. But when they taped over the hole, they only taped the outside, leaving the bat exposed to the tape on the inside. The rescuers did not realize it would climb up and climb it did. Remember, this was not a sick bat but a healthy one and therefore it was active. When Sarah, one of our Procyon Wildlife volunteers and directors, opened the box, there was the bat, stuck to that tape.

The job to get it unstuck began; it was very stressful for this little bat. This could have been avoided if the hole had been taped inside the box as well, thus leaving no sticky tape for that bat to get caught upon.

Unfortunately, this bat also got tape on its tiny foot and wings. Crystal, our Animal Coordinator, was able to get it off the foot, but the wings are slightly damaged on the edges in a spot on each wing. Hopefully, she will heal okay. She is eating well and active. She was very feisty once her tiny body was free of all the tape, like, “that feels better!” To view a video of how the tape was removed from the bat, please click here.

Pics of the little female bat:

Here is what you will need to safely transport a bat in trouble.

  • Make sure first that you wear gloves to protect yourself from being bitten,
  • A piece of small fleece can be put in the box for the bat to hide under and clutch to.
  • Many tiny air holes poked in the lid or around the top of the box are best.
  • Have the container ready to go so when it’s caught it can go right into that container
  • Once you have caught the bat and placed it in the box, make sure the lid fits tight, then carefully tape only the lid down. Or you can use a plastic container, but again, with many tiny air holes.
  • Then cover the box with a small towel to keep the bat calm.
  • Then call us at (905) 729-0033 to make arrangements to get it to us ASAP.

But no food or water please because we will take care of that later, and make sure absolutely no tape can be accessed by the bat inside the container. They can get into real trouble and actually can die if it’s too bad. Remember, they are very tiny animals and easily stressed.

Call us to arrange admission. Transport to us and we will take it from there. And a big thank you for your help and caring. We cannot do it without you.

HELP is in YOUR hands
Jen Howard
Procyon wildlife volunteer/ photographer,
Beeton, Ontario

Winter at Procyon by Jennifer Howard

Winter is a time when wildlife centres get a bit of a break. Wildlife still comes in sick or injured and of course, some have had to overwinter for various reasons while others come in because their hibernation has been disrupted. Like bats for example. And this year a very tiny little winter guest has arrived; a blue-spotted salamander. It had crawled up somebody’s drain pipe because they put cayenne pepper down the drain to stop mice from coming up. The little salamander was hibernating in there. Okay then!. Meanwhile, this poor little salamander got peppered. Never heard of that one before. Luckily the lady saw it and got it to help. The little dude is doing well after his long ride from the Huntsville area and is in Procyon’s care.

Bats have come in and are spending the winter; we have up to 7 now. Winter this year has been so unpredictable with warm, cold, freezing rain and then cold again. Crazy on wildlife, especially those who hibernate. Crazy on all of us.

Each day, however, is one day closer to spring. One thing we can all agree with is that we are all looking forward to it. On that note, I have noticed frisky squirrels and cardinals singing at my house. A sure sign of spring. Woodpeckers are drumming. Soon there will be more releases of precious lives back into the wild for those who have overwintered, and then the busiest season of orphans, sick and injured will begin.

If you can volunteer please give Procyon a call. We are always in need of volunteers. It’s not easy work but the rewards are endless. If you are not comfortable with handling the animals, there is so much more to do, laundry, dishes, cleaning cages, preparing food and formula. We also need help manning our phone lines.  The list is endless. And all that is a huge help to those caring for the animals. It’s non-stop with hungry cries hungry mouths routine. Shift to shift. So all the other things getting done for them is much appreciated.

When the baby season arrives Procyon will be ready. New cages line the walls, new incubators, new enclosures outside and more planned. Rooms have been reorganized to make it easier to care for the babies. Easy cleaning for cages which is a must to prevent issues. Laundry washed and stacked ready to go, toys for snuggling all clean and waiting. Medical supplies replenished. New outdoor heated water dishes for all. Volunteers already bringing in their applications with training starting in the next couple of weeks.

Soon Easter will be upon us as well, and another fundraiser with none other than the Easter Bunny anxiously awaiting all those furry, scaley, fuzzy whatever pets to come to sit with him for photos. Oh and also the two-legged humans are all welcome, with pets or no pets.  It will be a fun-filled day for all to help raise money for all the care involved in running the centre. This year’s Easter Bunny photoshoot is set for Saturday, March 28th at Rovilis Pet World in Bolton. We will be there from 10 until 3. Watch Procyon’s website and FB page and Rovili’s FB page for all details. We hope to see you there. I think this year we are going to be sporting a new look for our photoshoot. A surprise you will want to be in on.

But for now, we still have animals in our care; some were too young to release last fall and some have come in with injuries such as opossums with frostbitten tails or who were hit by cars. All coming along. Love those little guys.

Bats disturbed and woken up from hibernation, as I have mentioned before, if you find a bat, please put it into a small container with a good sealing lid with air holes, only with gloved hands, never barehanded. Keep them covered and  warm and call your nearest wildlife rehabilitation centre. Do not wait. Do not put food or water in. Always call ahead and get it there ASAP. Their lives depend on it.

This is the same with any little animal, injured, sick or orphaned. Do Not keep them and try to care for them. Let the trained folks do it. Again, their lives depend on proper care and special diets. They are cute, yes, but they are not pets, they are wild. And without the proper care and food, they can die. I know I say that a lot but you have no idea how many people think they can do it themselves. Then when things go wrong they call. By then, sometimes we can not help since it’s too late, they suffered and they die coming in on their last legs. It is so sad. All for what? Do the right thing. You will feel so good. And by doing that you may have saved that life, there is no better feeling than that one.

Other animals overwintering are a handful of raccoons, many squirrels who are very entertaining at feeding time and a couple of cottontail rabbits. I think that’s it at the moment. Enough to keep busy. Take a breath and get other things done too.

For those who come in with an animal in need, you will see a brand new entrance. A couple of volunteers have given Procyon a new paint job and an uplift to the inside, new photos adorn the walls. This is what goes on behind the scenes caring for the animals in need. To keep them wild and from getting imprinted, visitors are not allowed. So while you wait for admission look around you at the photos. It’s kind of like your own personal tour right there. We now have a board by the door where special cards and articles go. And please remember to keep voices down. There may be critical care patients nearby. All in a days work in a wildlife rehabilitation centre.

And remember there is a wish list. These are the things they need to keep running smoothly. Procyon has been very fortunate with some of their winter donations but so much is still needed. We are not government funded; we depend on donations big and small. There almost is not enough time in the day for our amazing handyman/volunteer who has done so much getting things fixed, installed and built while there is a lull in wildlife care activity. He is truly dedicated and so much appreciated. I’m not sure the work will never really be finished. But without people like this, it would be extremely difficult to keep up. And every time I go in, there is something else going on or being discussed. Volunteers are the root of a wildlife rehabilitation facility, so if you can or know someone who can help out, please check us out.

Winter is moving right along. So now is the time to make that change in your life and come in and be a part of a team of volunteers who make a difference in many little and big lives.

Give us a call at 905.729.0033, email us at info@procyonwildlife.com or go to www.procyonwildlife.com, located in Beeton or go to http://www.ontariowildliferescue.ca in order to find a wildlife rehabilitation facility nearest you.

You can make a difference. “HELP is in YOUR hands.”

Jen Howard

Procyon volunteer/ photographer.