08 Nov Another bat on a powerline…………….
Every year bat season hits with a vengeance, and every year we’re shocked by the swiftness with which we go from having one or two bats in care to having what feels like 200. We should know to expect it by now. Last week we got six electrocuted flying foxes on power lines in the same few blocks. If you see someone standing under an electrocuted bat on power lines, squinting up at it through binoculars, and then rattling their car keys underneath, there’s a good reason for it. While mum bat has been killed when she touched two power lines, at this time of year it’s highly likely that there’s a live baby bat hidden under her wing. The rattling of keys usually elicits a response from the pup, which is when we put in a call for help to Ausgrid.
If we (and the pup!) are lucky, the electrocuted mother is spotted early in the day, giving it a greater chance of survival when the weather heats up. When we got a call at about 4pm Friday, we didn’t hold out much hope for the pup. It hadn’t been a scorching hot day, but it had been warm without much cloud cover, and the electrocution could have occurred any time after fly-out on the previous night. Fortunately Ausgrid got a truck out quickly, but it was now peak hour on a busy road, and the bat was hanging over the traffic. The wonderful Ausgrid guys got permission to stop the traffic and go up in a cherry picker to get the bat off the lines. We hadn’t seen the pup move for ages, so thought it would be sad news, but instead he called down to us “it’s breathing, it’s alive! We were overjoyed, and raced home with the pup, still firmly attached to mum, to warm him up and hydrate him. There’s nothing we could do for the mother of course, but little Mike (named after Ausgrid guy Michael) is amazingly strong, though only a couple of weeks old. Our carer will raise him, starting with six bottle feeds a day, and he’ll be released with some friends in a safe area in a few months’ time.
This was a success story, and warms our hearts. Thank you Wildlife Heroes for funding vaccinations for our bat carers this year, and enabling us to buy 200 pairs of gloves to keep our members safe.