I was out test riding my ebike, which I’d just named Das Wampyr. It must have been a sign, because as I approached a depression in the dirt, I saw something flopping about and it was a fucking bat.
I expected a baby bird, since it was right under a tree. I thought it must have fallen out of the nest. I would have been more prepared to handle that. Birds don’t carry rabies, bats do.
But I couldn’t just keep moving. As someone with hamsters and a cat, I am a softie for tinybros. They are everywhere in nature but you have to look closely because they so tiny and smol. Case in point, I almost didn’t even notice this one.
I checked out the first website Google gave me when I searched “Help Google oh my god, I found an injured bat, what the fuck Google am I right? A bat, oh god, shit.” I initially figured I shouldn’t move it. You always hear “Don’t move an injured person, wait for the ambulance to arrive” so it must apply to animals as well.
The thing is, the bat was right in the middle of a bike path. Dead center. It looks like maybe somebody ran it over when it came down to drink. The ground was damp, but drying up as the sun rose. It couldn’t even crawl, and Google said it would be hot later in the day.
The website said I should put it into a padded container with heavy gloves, and then keep it in a warm, dry enclosure with towels and a dish of water until the local wildlife authorities arrive.
I had heavy gloves on me, so after closely studying him to make sure he had no obvious broken bones in his wings, I tried simply helping him up the tree.
Better by far if he could heal on his own, in his natural habitat…but that was a bust. He could hang, but not climb, and nearly fell before I gave up on it and resigned myself to bringing the little shitter home with me.
Operation Bat Rescue began around 11am. I first cycled home to retrieve a container. I drilled some holes in the lid and padded it out with toilet paper. I left the bat off the cycle path at the base of the tree, hoping it wouldn’t somehow get back into that spot.
When I returned, he was where I left him. Unresponsive unless I got too near or touched his back, in which case he would arch his back, bare his tiny fangs and screech vulgar threats at me in bat language. I tried dribbling some water in front of him from my hydration pack. He drank a little bit, but seemed unimpressed.
Oh my god look at his tiny litel feets
He was strangely tolerant of being put into the container though. He calmed right down and just became interested, sniffing and chewing on the toilet paper. I think because it was immediately more comfortable than the ground? Anyways with the tiny batbro secured, I took him home to give it more water and some warm towels to get cozy on.
Evidently he was parched. He did lots of mlems at the water, apparently more content to drink now that it was in a quieter and less chaotic situation. The microwaved towels also seemed to calm him down, he looked like a little cozybro chillin on them towels.
What to feed him though? I realized I don’t fucking know what bats eat besides “insects” and I don’t have any. I realized also I don’t know how the fuck to take care of a bat, so I ought to call people that do.
The website I initially checked was some bat society in the UK. So I searched by location and found the Audubon Society close by. They were like “Don’t touch it, you’ll get rabies” but I told them I already did.
When I explained its circumstances on the cycle path in ever-increasing heat, and that I had heavy gloves, then they were like “Okay, we don’t want to come out there to get it anyway, can you bring it in to us?” and I was like “ok I will do that thing you said”, which I proceeded to.
I then once again secured the tiny batfellow in his travel pod. I decided then that his name is Ernst. I had previously considered the names “Bats McGee” and “Shia LeBat”, but Ernst seemed more fitting. Anyways I drove the fuck over to the Audubon Society as fast as the law allows with the travel pod tucked into the cup holder.
The parking lot was packed, so I parked somewhat dubiously as I didn’t plan to be there long and it was a bat emergency. It was a comfort to see how well equipped they are. They don’t just take care of birds but all manner of wildlife, and had all the food, cages and other shit needed to do that properly.
I answered their questions as best I could, and they took Ernst into a back room to get him set up with more water and some meal worms. Of course! Meal worms! And here, my dumb ass was gonna give him guacamole. I’m glad I handed Ernst over to experts, it seemed Ernst would be in good hands and receive the specialized care he needed.
This is the form they make you fill out. I couldn’t answer some of them, like “address”. It was in the middle of the woods. Do they want GPS coordinates? I was as precise as possible anyways.
I hope they can read my handwriting, it’s like a bunch of fucking moon runes tbh. Numbers come out pretty ok though, so they definitely have my phone number and can get ahold of me to clarify whatever if they need to.
The qt pie who took Ernst from me then returned to ask for my phone, offering to take some close ups. It looks like he’s got the food he needs. Otherwise the enclosure was pretty much identical to the one I set up. He’s looking somewhat less ragged and fucked up now, and she said he’s very responsive, vocalizing frequently.
They gave me this thingie with a case number for Ernst and the phone number to call so I can check in on how he’s doing. They said not to get my hopes up too much because injured small animals have a poor survival rate, and to wait a couple of days before I call. For sure I will report back to you guys in like 3 days to keep you updated on whether Ernst makes it.
Operation Bat Rescue concluded around 12:15pm. Payload delivered, medical treatment initiated. (⌐■‿■)
The Audubon Society, at least the facility I went to, has a bitchin free nature trail with info plaques, cages with recuperating birbs in them and everything. I found this corvid, a jaunty lookin crowbro that the plaque said is named Aristophanes. Crowbros are also tinybros of nature and officially under my protection. Probably a raven actually, but w/e.
I rewarded myself with a nice comfy hike, looking at trees and shit all like “damn, these are some fine looking trees. You lookin good nature. It is pretty ok to be alive sometimes” and then went back out cycling to double check the spot where I found Ernst in case there were more bats or something, if his whole family got fucked up like that I didn’t want to rescue Ernst but leave the rest to die for example.
No more bats though. I was finally able to just relax and enjoy biking around, although from now on I will probs always been on the lookout for injured tinybros, and keep something to transport them with in my pack. The main takeaway here should be that helping an injured animal is actually a pretty painless and straightforward process.
So don’t be intimidated and think “The animal will be fine without me, I should just get on with what I was doing” because animals don’t have their own hospitals, they just fucking die from even small injuries sometimes let alone serious ones. The internet is a good resource for instructions on immediate near-term preparations.
But then, call the local wildlife authorities and they will walk you through what to do next. It isn’t hard. It only took about an hour, and now Ernst has a shot at returning to his old life, scouring the inky black night, hunting for tasty insect treats for his tum tum and possible bat pussy.
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