Bats in my porch: 23. A juvenile fell from the roost

posted in: Fauna, Videography | 5

On the afternoon of 23rd November, neighbour Amber Lau, accompanied by her parents, brought a juvenile Common Fruit Bat (Cynopterus brachyotis) hanging from the end of a short stick. The bat apparently fell from under the roof edge of her next door neighbour’s house onto a bush in her garden. Amber handed the bat over as she knew that I was studying bats.

For the last few years I only observed bats hanging from the roof of my porch. This was my first very close encounter with a bat – a juvenile that fell from its roost.

The juvenile bat was well developed but unable to fly. It could flap its wings and crawl on the stick. It gave a shrill cry when disturbed but soon got used to our presence.

I tried to feed it with pieces of fruits but it would not eat. Maybe it had yet to wean off from its mother’s milk. It was left hanging from the stick in the porch for the night.

The next morning it fell from the stick onto the table, probably weak from hunger. It would not accept bottled milk then. And it became lifeless soon after.

On hindsight, maybe we should have left it below its roost for the mother to locate it.

Would appreciate feedback from those with experience dealing with such young bats.

YC Wee & Amber Lau
January 2015

5 Responses

  1. andrew tay

    Hi Amber and Prof Wee,
    too bad this lovely little fruit bat didn’t make it even though its almost fully grown already.

    Looking at its size and body form, it is already a young adult and most likely
    was just weaned from its mother.

    And it seems that it didn’t successfully become independent and couldn’t find enough food by itself, then was starving and finally became too weak and fell off its perch.

    Fruit bats are much easier to cater for as compared to insect-eating bats which are smaller and require tiny insect food eg mosquitoes and moths.

    I always keep a can of glucose in my fridge specifically for lost, weak or injured wildlife that I encounter, for birds, bats and other mammals.
    I mix a bit of the glucose powder with a few drops of water and feed this to revive them first and hopefully this will give them enough energy to then eat more solid foodstuff.

    For fruit bats can also mix a tiny bit of the powder to mashed up ripe banana and feed this paste. If the bat is too weak to open its mouth to eat, can smear some on its lips and it should lick it off.

    The main objective is to perk it up immediately,
    as small animals lose their body warmth and energy levels very fast.

    If a lively, still active baby bat is found then yes, the first option is to hang it up where it was found or where u think it fell from to see if its mother will respond to its cries to retrieve it (but of course has to only be at night when mom is active). But make sure that the hanging spot has a base which it can fall safely onto so it does not injure itself in case it falls again.

    Do be careful when handling wildlife as when they are frightened will bite to defend themselves. If you need to handle them then use a towel.

    If you need help with an injured or lost wild animal, you can also contact Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES). Their helpline tel: 97837782.

    Amber, so good of you to give help to this baby bat.
    Even though it didn’t survive, at least this gives you the experience to know how to help another bat that is in need of help in future.
    Bats are so important to us and our environment–they eat up mosquitoes, grow forests by spreading seeds–we need them!

    Cheers, andrew

    • BESG

      Thanks Andrew for the all inclusive comment. We will take your advice into consideration the next time we come into contact with a stray juvenile bat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.