Maternal presence is vital to a baby animal’s survival, especially in the first few months of its life. They need warmth, food, a safe habitat, and motherly affection. Baby animals cannot fend for themselves in the wild — their lives are in grave danger if left unattended. The offspring may die from strong climate exposure or hunger or be targeted by predators. Thankfully, some humans establish rescue and rehabilitation centers for poor orphaned animals. Some abandoned babies are found and brought to the centers to give them a second chance in life. Humans will act as foster parents that will provide care and guidance to the offspring. And when they’re old enough and prepared to seize the wild, they are released to start life as an adult and meet others.
Some rescuers focus on one animal group to accommodate, like Rhiannon. She’s a volunteer worker from Gold Coast, Australia, who provides a temporary home for bats. Although they look terrifying due to how they are usually portrayed, Rhiannon has built a lovely connection with the bats under her care. The bat rescuer can attest to the adorable side of the nocturnal animals. One of the bats that lived in her sanctuary was also fond of asking her for belly rubs. It was a flying fox that was once found in a theme park. His name is Eddie, and he has a puppy-like personality. When he arrived at Bats Queensland, Eddie was a premature baby. According to Rhiannon, he might have been so weak that he couldn’t hold on to his mother.
“He was brought down to a wildlife hospital before coming into care with me. He simply would’ve just fallen from mum as she’s gone out to feed for the night,” Rhiannon explained. Despite getting lost, Eddie has received maternal care from Rhiannon since then. Thankfully, Rhiannon has sufficient bat care knowledge, so he was placed in good hands. The two had built a wonderful friendship, and Eddie loved receiving belly rubs. Whenever Rhiannon stops the pets, he would simply look at her like he was betrayed. Eddie would even try to gesture for Rhiannon to continue.
Caring for a premature baby bat is challenging. Rhiannon also mentioned that it was very touch-and-go during the first few days of Eddie’s stay. Aside from feeding, he had to be in the incubator for three to four hours to ensure his survival even more. “Once he really started opening his eyes and moving around more, you could see his personality coming through and his strength and will to keep going on,” Rhiannon shared. Her relationship with Eddie was extra special since baby bats tend to form a bond with whoever they treat as their mother. The baby flying fox has grown affectionate towards Rhiannon to the point that he could easily recognize her voice.
Apart from Eddie, Rhiannon has met a lot of flying foxes before him. Their stays allowed the rescuer to have a closer look at their lives and know different personalities. Rhiannon mentioned a lot of things about bats, such as their cat-like vision and the musky smell she loves. But her presence in their lives is temporary — there comes a day when they are placed in the flight aviary for soft release. “It is a setup where an animal can stay for a few weeks or however long they need. Until they just eventually choose not to come back,” she explained.
Eddie has already taken flight and started a life in the wild. Rhiannon admitted that it was difficult to let him go, but it was necessary. She just hopes that all her rescue bats lead safe and comfortable lives. And that she has taught them everything they needed for survival. Learn more about their story by watching the video below.