Welcome to my first blog post.
BAM! There. How cute is that picture?
If you answered “Too cute to be legal in at least 36 states.” you would be wrong. Because it’s illegal to be this cute in all 48 contiguous states of the continental US.
One of my favorite parts about this picture is that I took it IN MY ROOM. How do I have adorable snuggly bat pups in my room? We should probably start this story at the beginning, because I’m getting ahead of myself. Which I do on a rather daily basis, so don’t get surprised if I do it again.
I’ve been trying to start this blog for a few months now. I mean, as a person working with exotic pet animals for a full time job, across the street from my part time job of caring for hurt wildlife (in New York City, mind you), this stuff basically writes itself. Unfortunately, I have a crippling fear of writing, and never do it, so I’m pretty sure I will mess this whole process up. However, if you enjoy terribly cute pictures of crazy animals (and a crazy life), you should try to bear with me for at least a little bit.
I thought a good first post to start on was how my best friend just came to visit me from our hometown (insert big ups to Cape Cod here) to pick me up in Brooklyn, and continue on our way to New Jersey, where we would see a smattering of protected wildlife at the Lakota Wolf Preserve. We journeyed there last Sunday, and I took some pictures of the animals there, which I was going to post here. What a quaint a good way to start a blog about animals in the city, right?
BUT THIS POST HAS TO WAIT YOU GUYS!
Because an even more important thing happened to me between now and then on the CrazyNYCAnimal Meter (it’s an actual unit of measurement. if anyone cares to discuss the different levels on said meter, I can totally clear my schedule). I had to field a call from a woman who found a small brown bat, which had fallen onto a busy sidewalk in Queens! Poor bat! But, that’s not all. This was a mommy bat and she had TWO BABY BATS WITH HER.
Two of the cutest fuzzy bats pups that have ever existed…….
……………and their less than pleased mother
Now, for those of you who do not know me, I love bats. Like, LOOOOOOVE them. If I could cuddle them, I totally would. I would also make little crocheted bat blankets for them whenever they were cold, and I would make them cute little bat houses, based on their dynamic and fabulous little personalities. However, as an advocate for living properly with and among wildlife, I have learned that these are frowned upon practices (understandably so). I manage to resist these urges, but I wish to point them out to you only to illustrate how much I love bats.
I used to work with bats back on Cape Cod, and had the pleasure of working under Dr. Donald Griffin. For those of you who don’t know who he is, he is the person who coined the term echolocation in 1938 while working with bats as an undergrad at Harvard. He was a total boss (unfortunately, he passed away in 2003, and the world lost intelligent and passionate animal scientist) and I got to personally work with him in his favorite place to catch and tag bats (“in the whole world” he once told me). It was an absolute dream for me, and he instilled a certain respect and awe for bats deep inside, which I have never lost.
Also, I HAVE NEVER SEEN A BAT PUP BEFORE. NEVER. For all of the bat hunting and catching (humanely) I did to tag bats so we could track them on their nightly jaunts, I never caught a pup.
Can we now see why when this woman tells me this, I internally LOSE MY SHIT. Excuse my french, but these are the animal calls I LIVE FOR. At least I have built up enough professionalism to be able to talk to this woman without sounding like a total gushing idiot. After much discussion, we decide for me to haul my butt all the way out to College Point in Queens, to pick up this momma and her two little babies, hold them for the night, and transport them to a rabies vector certified handler the next morning.
Let me take a moment here to thank this poor woman who found this dazed bat in the middle of Queens. Not only does she get gloves and put the bat in a box with her two pups, she also goes out, and buys it mealworms too. And THEN when she found out I was taking the train from Manhattan to come and get these little creatures, her husband and herself pack the critters up, jump in their truck, and come meet me at Citifield.
And that’s how I end up lurking like a creep, with an animal carrier, at 11:00pm, in a MLB parking lot, waiting for a woman to bring me bats. The best part? This is a normal Wednesday night for me.
I told you guys, this stuff writes itself.
I would also like to point out that this woman did the proper thing which was to FIRST CALL A WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR. If anyone had touched these bats, they would have to be euthanized, as that is the only way to test for rabies. Even if they don’t exhibit rabid signs, they STILL HAVE TO BE KILLED, because nobody screws around with a possible misdiagnosis of a rabies virus. Because this woman got in touch with the proper people, she was able to get directions on what to do, and how to do it properly, for the safety of both her AND the animals. To find a wildlife rehabilitator in the state of New York, go to www.nyswrc.org, and there is an option on the homepage to find rehabilitators by region. Also feel free to ask me! I spend so much free time manning questions at work from “I found a baby bird. What should I do?” to “There is a peregrine falcon in the window alcove of my preschool. Can you come and get it?” (the answers to those questions were, “If you can find the nest, can you reach it to put the baby back?” and “Yes, I can definitely do that. With pleasure.”)
Cut back to a quick montage on a train and taxi ride back home to Brooklyn of a 26 year old woman and her three bats. When I finallygot them home, using gloves and feeding tongs, I attempted to get the mother to eat. She took maybe a mouthful of worm, but was too agitated to want to chew on anything…. except probably at my face in rage. I put her back in the carrier, and she started to nurse the pups.
OH GOD THAT’S SO CUTE.
I had to leave and compose myself, plus we had all had a long day (I started work at 7:30am, and didn’t get home until right before midnight), and everyone needed some alone time. Bedtime for all!
Cut to this morning, where I wrote this post (my first!), and took these pictures for you to enjoy :)
sleepy babies hanging upside down. stop it. stop being so cute.
And sleepy momma, just hanging on the side right next to them
The whole family <3
Now they are all ready to go onto their next stop of a journey that will hopefully save all their lives and give them a better place to live. These are the times when I feel the best about my job. It makes all the tough times worth it…..every single one.
Can you see why I couldn’t start my first post with a trip to a wildlife preserve? This just couldn’t wait. And for that, I think Dr. Griffin would be proud :)