Every Friday, the fine folk over at The Daily Post issue a weekly photo challenge. This weeks challenge is Together.
This should be a simple challenge for most of you – find a picture of people or things which are together in your picture. Share a picture that means TOGETHER to you!
I have shared this photo before in various bat related articles, so if you have seen it before, my apologies. These two orphaned Grey Headed Flying Foxes came into my care during the 2007 season as young babies – a week or two old at most. They were unrelated, and found a few days apart. The male (slightly to the front, larger animal) was named Arnie and was a confident young bat who would love a snuggle, but was just as happy to explore his environment. He developed within the normal expected stages, and was released in due course to live the life of a wild bat. The younger female was named Alyssa and was so incredibly traumatised from being separated from her mother that she would scream with fear if she was not clinging to Arnie or myself. Her story is the mirror opposite of Arnies’.
How Arnie became separated from his mother is a bit of a mystery, but I will never forget Alyssas’ story. Her mother had come to rest on power lines and sadly had suffered a fatal electrocution. Alyssa received burns to her mouth and although she did not die, she showed symptoms of electrocution also. Unfortunately, Alyssas’ mother died instantly on the power lines with Alyssa clinging to her dead mothers body. It took her two days to lose grip on her dead mothers body and to fall to the ground. She was starving, covered in maggots and exhaustion. She had climbed on a fence out of instinct when the local home owner noticed her. The home owner was entertaining house guests and had related to them how he hated bats and couldn’t wait for the thing to die. Surely they were diseased, and stunk. She was, after all, covered in maggots. The guest was horrified and called WIRES for help. Alyssa was named after the woman who took pity on her and called for help, a sign of my gratitude and respect.
I’ve had “clingy” bat pups in the past, but its a stage that they normally grow out of. That wasn’t the case with Alyssa. Her physical and emotional scaring was so evident. She was so nervous and scared and exceptionally needy. It took her the longest time to settle down and even then, she was unlike any other bat I’ve known. Eventually, she was released with the other orphans and I often wonder how she is coping in the wild.
In this photo, she annoyed Arnie so she could climb into his wings for cuddles. I have never seen anything like it. I’ve shared this photo with other bat carers’ around the country who all express the same amazement. Alyssas’ story is so sad and moving that it has to be shared. Our impact on the animals around us is massive – we need just open our eyes and look.
Grey Headed Flying Foxes are an endangered species endemic to Australia. You can read more about flying foxes here.
For my regular readers, the photo on my food blog Rhiannas’ Guide to Ethical Eating is different from the post here! Enjoy!
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