Bats get a bad rep for being nasty winged-creatures with Vampire relations and blood-sucking habits. Don’t believe any of it, it’s not true at all. Bats are highly adapted, incredible animals with a unique cuteness that is instantly noted when you give them a chance.
Thankfully, one warm-hearted hospital in Australia is giving bats more than a chance, but an entire hospital. The Tolga Bat Hospital in Atherton, Australia takes in abandoned baby bats and nurses them to health. When ready, bats are released back into the wild for a chance at a full life. These photos of patients at the Bat Hospital prove bats are much cutter than you ever assume when they pass by like scary shadows in the night.
There are SO many misconceptions about bats out there. For one, not ALL bats have rabies, in fact it is estimated that less than .05% of bats have rabies! In the last 40 years, only 40 people have contracted rabies due to contact with a bat, that’s about 1 a year.
Another misconception is that bats tend to get caught in your hair when flying by, this is not true either. Bats may come close to you while on the hunt for bugs but their senses are so finely tuned they can avoid running into an object that is as thin as a piece of thread.
But do bats really suck blood? There is only one type of bat, named the Vampire bat, which consumes blood. Vampire bats don’t ‘suck’ though; instead they use their sharp teeth to make an incision and then lap up the blood as it pours from the wound. Animals are typically asleep when these bats strike, and since their saliva contains anesthetic qualities, the animals don’t wake up or feel anything. In most cases, this causes no harm.
Despite the rumors, bats are not blind. they don’t see colors–but since they come out at night, they don’t really need to! Bats can see just about as well as you at night. In fact, bats are more like you than you might assume. They are mammals that go through a live birth to deliver their young, which then live on the milk provided by mammary glands. Bats are known as the only true mammal with wings.
On the official website of the Tolga Bat Hospital the non-profit group writes, “We are a community group in Australia working for the conservation of bats and their habitat through partnerships in education, research, advocacy, rescue and landcare work.”
The work by this incredible group of bat-lovers has earned them a number of awards and countless recognition. Every year they release hundreds of bats into the wild that have been nursed back to health. For those that cannot be released to the wild, the group strives to provide a comfortable and natural space for them to reside in captivity.
These bats are often placed at the hospital after becoming ill due to a tick paralysis. In many cases the bats’ mother is also infected and has subsequently died, leaving the sick infant bat abandoned and in need of care. Many other bats are injured due to getting caught in barbed wire fences. The hospital also houses bats that have since retired from living at a zoo.
You can actually pay to visit the hospital and see some of these bats up close and personal, plus all profits go to help the bats. If you don’t live anywhere near Australia but would like to help contribute, you can buy some of the cute accessories sold on the Tolga Bat Hospital website, including cards, stickers, t-shirts and more!