The pup almost ready for release. Photo by Lib Ruytenberg.  Photo Contributed
The pup almost ready for release. Photo by Lib Ruytenberg. Photo Contributed Contributed

Bat pup slowly nursed back to health by WIRES

THREE months ago, the first bat pup of the season came into WIRES' care - a premature newborn Grey-headed flying-fox, weighing only 46 grams, about half the normal birth weight.

Grey-headed flying-foxes are categorised as vulnerable to extinction on the national Threatened Species list, a spokesperson from WIRES Northern Rivers said.

Attempting to raise a pup like this, they said, is a delicate task and uncertain in its outcome.

The tiny male was kept in a humidicrib for the first few weeks and would take less than 1ml of special formula per feed.

Flying-fox pups normally open their eyes immediately after birth; however, this little guy did not open his eyes until he was 11 days old, WIRES revealed.

However, as the weeks went by, he continued to grow and finally convinced carers that he would indeed survive.

Now at nearly 300 grams and flying, he is enjoying blossoms and fruit and will soon be released with other flying-fox orphans.

 

One premature pup at four days old. Photo by Lib Ruytenberg.  Photo Contributed
One premature pup at four days old. Photo by Lib Ruytenberg. Photo Contributed Contributed

Interestingly, flying-foxes are the only wildlife species which benefit from forming a bond with a human.

WIRES have to be careful not to humanise all other wildlife species.

Flying-foxes, however, bond with their human carer for the first 10 weeks of life then, just like human teenagers, only want to mix with their own kind and are no longer interested in their primary carers.

Flying-foxes, or bats, are very special animals.

They are flying mammals, the only flying mammals.

And as nature's gardeners, they are the only pollinators and long-distance carriers of seeds to enable the growth of particular hardwood trees.

Rainforests would be sparse without them.

You can call the local WIRES Northern Rivers 24-hour hotline on 6628 1898 or go to http://wiresnr.org/Helping.html to find out how you can help.



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