{Bat Rehab}

My morning spent pulling cotton fluff (for Abby to make into yarn for a tapestry) with Abby while watching Ever After was interrupted - Angel and Menno found a baby bat out front of Heartwood. It was on its back and gasping for air, dehydrated and waning quickly in the hot Virginia sun.

We squeezed berry juice into its mouth and brought it inside to do some research. We found out that it was an Eastern Red bat, that the babies learned to feed on insects after a few weeks, that it needed to stay warm and dry, and that if it were dehydrated it should perk up rather quickly afterward.

After about fifteen minutes of our careful ministrations, it was hooking its wing-end claws into our clothing and climbing around, clicking loudly now and then as a form of communication. It also hummed and thrummed while we held it, possibly utilizing its echolocation to get a better understanding of its surroundings.

The bat (which seemed to be male) was about three or four inches long with black velvety wings and very fine, downy baby fur in greyish browns on its body. It had rounded, still part-folded ears high on its head, and lower down very Tiiiny eyes, a wide nose with small nostrils, and a wide, flat mouth, almost like a pig or a fish. It opened its mouth Ever so cutely to drink up the water we put in front of it.

After feeling confident that the bat had more energy than before, Abby and I took it out into the orchard and put it onto tree branches a few times, from which it swung into a hanging position so that it could try to fly away. It flew about 10-15 feet the first two times, and the third time a full 25 feet or so over to a different bush. We left it to fate and a promising future, trusting its ability to care for itself (our research had said that baby bats learn pretty easily by themselves how to hunt and care for themselves).

What an exciting morning.