An October reminder of what Wild Things Sanctuary wildlife heroes have achieved, lives they've saved, and dreams they dream!
Help! I'm stuck!

Sassy caught in a shutter
Sasparilla the Big Brown Bat trapped in a shutter

     Wild animals can get themselves trapped or caught in many different ways. They usually navigate well out in the wild, but human habitation can present all sorts of unexpected traps for them. When I got a call about a bat who was trapped in a shutter, I wasn't at all surprised, but I have been very surprised with this little girl's strength and fortitude during a long healing process.

      Sasparilla, or "Sassy," is a Big Brown Bat, though at about 1oz you might not think that she is one of the bigger bat species in our area. Caught in a shutter, she had tried to free herself for at least 18
hours. As bats are considered "rabies vector species" in New York (see previous June/July newsletter for info on rehabilitating "RVS" species) there are few people who are licensed to help these wonderful mammals. By the time the finders were able to find Wild Things Sassy was exhausted and in bad shape.
Sassy's initial injury

      After being carefully removed from the shutter, her injury was assessed. Amazingly, nothing was broken, but the skin and soft tissue was worn down all the way to the bone, and she had a long tear in the wing's delicate membrane skin. Her teeth were worn down from trying to free herself and she had lost a lot of blood. Upon admission she weighed just 14g (1/2oz), but after rehydration she was up to 18g by the next morning. Although the injury did not look too severe and she was immediately started on antibiotics, circulation to the area was compromised and the injury proceeded to get very ugly and swollen.

      I was worried that without proper blood and nerve supply the tissue would just start dying and the whole wing would become necrotic and dead. I searched for a veterinarian who was willing to work with a bat. Again, being an RVS animal, many vets are unwilling to work with these species. Finally, a wonderful vet, Tanya Jackson in PennYan, NY almost 2 hours away, agreed to help. An X-ray showed nothing broken and examination of the tissue and exudate just indicated a horribly bad infection, but no dead tissue. There was hope!

Sassy's Xray

      We started her on a different combination of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and pain-killers. And 2-3 times a day I soaked her wing in a special gentle solution designed to fight off any bacteria or other yuckies such as yeast and fungi. I worked out a way to let her hang upside down while keeping her infected wrist joint in the solution.

Sassy getting her wing soaked
Sassy being a very good patient while her wing is soaked

     I have worked with bats before and they can be very hard to handle. They are so small and "bitey" that it can be hard to hold them in place (without getting bitten) while trying to do any kind of procedure on their tiny bodies. But Sassy has been a wonderful patient. The medicine is nasty tasting, and she didn't like it at all, but took it twice a day for many weeks. And the wing soaking must have been awkward and uncomfortable for her, but she put up with it giving me few complaints.

Medicine is yucky!

     Sassy is now up to 34g! She loves her diet of mealworms and waxworms. All mealworms must be "gut loaded" before feeding them to a bat. This means that the mealworms eat special food so that when they are eaten, they pass along essential nutrients. It costs more to feed the mealworms than a lot of other animals at Wild Things! With winter fast approaching and because of her injuries, Sassy will over-winter at Wild Things. By spring she should be ready to go! Did you know bats can live over 20 years? This means she will probably have friends and family waiting for her!

Mealworms are delicious!
A delicious dinner!

      Bats are a symbol of Halloween and are often feared by humans. With this holiday approaching, it is a great time to change our minds about how we think about these animals. Did you know that they save our country billions of dollars a year by providing free pest control? That they are quite gentle and they will not aggressively go after humans? That only a very small percent of bats carry rabies? In 2010 only 2% of bats tested for rabies in NY were positive carriers of the disease.
Because animals must be killed to be tested for rabies, be smart and know the facts before you send an innocent animal to a health department and to its death.

      These little animals help humans every day and have never asked for anything in return. Now more than ever, in the face of the deadly White Nose Syndrome (see column at right), we can return the favor by standing up for bats and being educated about the facts! Want to know more about bats? Take a look at Bat World or Bat Conservation International. And make sure you pick up a copy of the The Wild Times, winter 2011, coming out Nov/Dec 2011!
Raccoon living in attic
October Wildlife Tip!

Autumn is a great time to make home repairs to ensure animals like Sassy don't end up trapped or living in your home.

During the spring and summer, if animals are nesting in your property, repairs can separate mothers from babies and cause a lot of distress and suffering.

During the winter, any animal living in your home is depending upon it for shelter and warmth; turn them out and they can die of exposure and starvation.

In the fall, babies are usually old enough to fair for themselves if separated from their mothers and home repairs to keep animals out will give individuals a chance to find a winter home before it gets cold.

If you have trouble with wildlife living in your home, find a qualified professional to help. This will minimize animal suffering and give you a better chance at finding long term solutions to keep animals out.

Check out Wild Things Sanctuary's "Living with Wildlife" page for more information.
Also, I found the above picture on a great website page on the same subject, check it out!:
Freeing trapped or unwelcome wildlife

Help Sassy
& buy something beautiful!

Sasparilla was found by the wonderful artists at Salmon Pottery in Trumansburg, NY.

This wonderful studio and store has beautiful work by many artists. Classes and workshops are also offered by the artists.

There are now several items for sale at Salmon Pottery that are being sold to benefit Wild Things Sanctuary. All funds will go towards Sassy & the other wild things' care.

We are very grateful to have their support! With winter setting in it looks like we will have several animals who need to "over-winter" before they are ready for release. This means there will be many mouths to feed for the next several months here at Wild Things!
Sassy the bat soon after arrival, note worn teeth from trying to free herself

Wild Things Sanctuary needs your help!

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today!
Wild Things Sanctuary sign
Mission Statement
Wild Things Sanctuary (WTS) is dedicated to helping native wildlife through rescuing and rehabilitating debilitated and orphaned/displaced animals until they are ready for release back into the wild. Eventually, WTS is also aiming to provide a sanctuary for non-releasable native animals.

WTS is also committed to improving the well-being of wildlife through public education; focusing on how humans can safely and peacefully coexist with native wildlife, and on wildlife’s importance to man and the environment.
Little Brown Bat with White Nose Syndrome

White Nose Syndrome

Have you heard about this deadly disease that is decimating bat populations? It started in upstate NY in 2006 and has been spreading west and south every year. Little Brown Bats, once the most numerous predator in North America, may be extinct in the next decade; many of their colonies have sustained loses of over 90%.

As scientists scramble to learn more about the killer fungus that is the cause of White Nose Syndrome, the country fears that the loss of bats will put US agriculture at risk. Bats supply BILLIONS of dollars of free pest control every year to farmers. Without bats to help us, what will happen to US food production??

Read all about it in The Wild Times, winter 2011...coming out Nov/Dec 2011.
bat carved pumpkin!
WTS Advice:
If a bat is trapped in your home, don't hurt the animal, open a window or door and let them find their own way outside.
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