March 2nd, 2003



I have just been handed a yellow bellied sheathtailed bat. She weighs 47 grams and has a wingspan of 50cm. That's 1/2 a METRE. She's HUGE!

And she's beautiful! She has fur like black velvet on her back, but her belly is a creamy white colour. Her foxy-face, wings and tail are a deep, shiny black. She's on the Schedule 2 Vulnerable list.


She was caught on a barbed wire fence and has lost the end joints of her left "little finger" and "ring finger." I'll take her to the zoovets tomorrow to see if anything can be done, but I think they'll recommend euthenasing her. I won't like that at all.


Sheathtailed bats are recognized carriers of lyssavirus. And she bit me right through the glove and drew blood. Bugger. My immunoglobulin levels are well up and I might not need a booster, but ABL isn't an instant-death thing so I have plenty of time to plan things out. The doc at the Base Hospital says we should keep the bat for 10 days to see if it is affected by the disease. He isn't concerned so I won't be.

I just want to hug her and pat her and call her George, except George isn't a female name that starts with "I", and she has very sharp teeth, and doesn't like being patted. Okay, so that wasn't such a good idea.
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(no subject)

These are not-to-scale scans of a "typical bat" from Australian Bats, by Sue Churchill. The second finger (our index finger) generally creates a leading edge. The 3rd finger and 4th finger (our middle and ring fingers) are damaged on the sheathtail.

The difference in the diagrams doesn't look like much, but trust me, it makes a big difference.

What I thought was wrong:

The very end tips (P3 on the diag.) of 3 and 4 and the associated membrane are missing, but the joint is still there.

What is wrong:

Membrane, P3 and the joint are gone completely on both fingers, and the ends of P2 are are exposed to the air. It's not shown on the diagram, but P2 on the sheathtail is 70% of the length of the 3rd finger, and 50% of the 4th finger. Losing these bones would reduce the wing size by about half. The vets might be able to save the wing.
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