"Mon", our educational Big Brown Bat, entered our lives in the summer of 2004 from Salomon Farms, a late 1800's homestead that had recently become part of the Ft. Wayne City Parks System. That summer, the park's program had put its farming equipment into one of the old buildings that probably been home to a large colony of bats for decades. Unfortunately, each time the machinery was started up for farm use, the gas fumes from the engines rose to the roof overhead where the well-established nursery colony, with its infant bats, was located. Beginning in June of 2004, we received daily calls concerning gassed and fallen babies.

One such victim was an 8-day old baby boy we named "Mon". He was only partially furred, and was covered with mites from the farm animals also housed in that building. That summer, after a good wash-down, we raised him with several other small colony mates who all seemed to develop faster than "Mon". His buddies easily learned their flying skills by the end of the season and were released. But in late September, "Mon", probably having received an almost toxic level of fumes, could barely lift off for short, low flights. We therefore kept him over winter, still in aerial training, but also enjoying nightly TV time under Bob's collar that vibrated with "Mon's" persistent PURRING. We were sure that he would fly, and could be released by the spring of 2005.

However, our balking brown "temporary" purring orphan absolutely refused to fly that spring. In spite of all the tricks we tried, he simply looked up at us with his Big Brown eyes, wiggling his cute nose, and busily continued to purr his way into our hearts. In vain, we attempted jumps from Bob's hand, and then shaking his arms, but with an even tighter grip "Mon" just dangled up-side-down! Late that summer, Bob even "constructed" a cloth runway across our dining table, encouraging "Mon" and some of this next year's reluctant flyers to race to the edge of the table and hopefully take off into space. But they all screeched to an abrupt stop as their toes felt the end of solidity, turned, and dashed back towards Bob and safety!



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