Finally, there was that one miraculous rehab challenge. Because of a cold, wet, extended spring, there was a baby boom in the bat room! Seventeen infants were born to our wintering residents. Two of these captive pups were rejected, for some reason, by their mother at 10 days of age. In spite of continually placing these wee wandering babies back in the closely clustered colony, the siblings were abandoned again and again. We knew finally that those rejected orphans would have to be raised by us. When they were closely examined, we discovered, in horror, that the more fragile female had no eyes…no bumps, or slits, only smooth facial skin where the eyes should have been! Her brother, on the other hand, was a wide-eyed pup, easily reaching for the eyedropper filled with rich baby formula. For one week Baby “Braille” needed to feel this eyedropper “nipple”, and a bit of liquid, touch her lips before sucking out that life-giving formula. Then suddenly at 3 ½ weeks, “Braille” developed fused eye slits that slowly began to open. Gradually, with TLC and good nutrition, her eyes became as widely bright as her brother's, but the use of sight was limited. When, at 6 weeks, “Braille” dashed out of her pouch and grabbed a worm, we cheered!! From then on, “Braille” and brother “Midget,” always inseparable, romped around in their tent, snatching worms out of the dish as they dashed by, and in 8 weeks the siblings were flying loops around the large flight pen at night. Our miracle baby and her brother were released together during the summer; we wish them a free-flying and healthy life full of juicy, buggy treats!
Tragically, not all rehab is successful, no matter how hard the effort. During their daily jog, a young couple in a near-by town found a dead bat on the side of the road. When curiously picking it up, they discovered two teeny, furless babies, umbilical cords still attached, desperately clinging to their mother’s nipples. Bob rushed to the rescue, immediately incubating, hydrating, and feeding these skinny, newborn pups. “Kathy Lee”, with her consistent weight gain, became a lively little bat, and was released in late summer. However, “Regis” (The couple named them) remained puny, struggling with determined effort to survive; after 2 weeks, this brave little soul, still almost at birth weight, lost his battle. We sadly buried him beside his mother.