Bat Man Bob Interview 2

Randy: “Welcome back to Animal Weekly where I’m here chatting with Bob the Bat Man for part 2 of our series interview about bats. Thank you again for your time Bob. If you haven’t listened to the first part, please make sure you take a quick listen to that. And one thing I would like to start the 2nd part out with here is a common question that I myself had, and many people have out there is from your experience, how rare is it that they carry diseases such as rabies?”

Bob: “Okay, well, since we’ve been established, we’ve taken in over 1,700 bats, and we’ve had 3 with rabies. So it’s very rare.”

Randy: “Only 3 – you hear that folks?”

Bob: “Only 3 – and that’s because I go out and I rescue bats that are injured or sick or whatever, so I’m seeing the guys that are in trouble. So figuring that 3 out of that. Probably in Fort Wayne we get a couple every year, but when you figure we have thousands of bats living in Fort Wayne, you know, that’s very small. The CDC estimates that the occurance of rabies in bats is like 1 in 200,000,000.”

Randy: “Why do you think there’s such a common misinformation about that?”

Bob: “Well, the reason is because it’s so rare that it gets the headlines. Nobody cares about the number of people that die from the flu every year. That’s so common that everybody just kind of forgets about that. And there are a lot of other diseases that have become so common. You don’t hear anybody complaining about Zika anymore, or Chickamauga, or whatever that other diasease was. All these things – West Nile was a real problem for awhile, and now it’s kind of like it’s common and nobody’s worried about it. But the Rabies is so so rare. If you go to the CDC website and you look at the occurances of diseases there’s not even a blip on the chart for Rabies. But the big thing about Rabies, you know, is if you get bit by a bat go get your shots okay. Even the bat was not Rabid or whatever, it’s worthwhile getting the shots, especially if the bat escapes. The problem is if you do get bit by a bat, like I said, 2 things are going to happen. 1 – they are going to take the bat and cut it’s head off and examine it’s brain to see if it has Rabies, so that’s one thing. The other thing is they’re going to send you immediately to the ER to get shots, and they run about $500 a piece. And they’re very expensive because like I said, Rabies is so rare that they don’t make vaccines. You know, it’s kind of a lost type thing, so in fact there was a period there where there was just nothing available in the states for Rabies shots because the production wasn’t there. You know, they had to produce other vaccines and stuff. So it’s very very rare and you know – but the only people that really die from bat Rabies are people that are stupid. You know they do dumb things. Like we had a guy in – down in Texas. Killed a bat, dunked it in his beer, drank the beer and then 3 months later he left the gene pool.

Randy: “That’s terrible”

Bob: “It’s when people beat up on bats or stuff like that fluids get flying around and things like that. So this other thing is don’t hit a bat, you don’t go after bats – you leave them alone. If you’re scared to death of them call me, call animal control, we’ll come and get them. But always keep your eye on where the bat is because we can’t get the bat unless we know where it is. Otherwise we’re going to have to tear up your house.”

Randy: “Sure. Sure. People don’t like that either!”

Bob: “People don’t like that.”

Randy: “Okay, well thank you for covering that. I wanted to make sure that was covered in this interview. With regard to people, is there anything people themselves can do to protect the bats in their area?”

Bob: “Well some of the things you can do is put up a bat house for them. Bat houses are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. Best place to install a bat house is on the side of the house or the side of a building where they can get morning sunshine, and put it up there about 10 – 15 feet up, and that’s one of the thing they can do.

Uh, keep the yard natural okay – don’t use insect bombs and stuff like that out there. I know you’re trying to get rid of the pets, but the thing that you do is you also destroy beneficial insects that are going to be good for your garden, and good for your trees and things. But once you start putting out too much insectisides and pesticides yeah you get rid of the insects, and then therefore the bats won’t come around and feed because there’s nothing there to feed on. So they leave the area, and then that leaves you prone to the critters that are immune to the insect bombs. People would be surprised what these bats eat. They eat a lot of beatles, moths, they eat termites, they eat cockroaches. You know I think that’s why some of them are found in some people’s houses. So you know, they eat a wide variety of things, I’ve even found some droppings from a bat and there was even Emerald Ash Borer wings in there. So there’s a lot of stuff that they eat, you know, and we just don’t see it because they’re out there in the dark, and you don’t see it. But I go out in my backyard in the Summer time and I can go in short sleeve shorts and nothing bothers me – and I’m a mosquito magnet.

Randy: “The fringe benefits of having a bat rescue.”

Bob: “Right. Yeah, so, yep..”

Randy: “Okay, what difficulties and challenges do you face with helping bats? Is it funding, vounteers, or having enough space and faciliaties or is there anything?”

Bob: “Well, there are some challenges. The big thing is just time. Time to go out to a house and pickup the bat and that kind of thing, you know. And I don’t mind doing it I figure I’m helping my friends and they can pass the favor along. So if I go out, get their bat, tell them all about it, encourage them, show them where they have problems with their house or something where the bats are getting in. It helps them out and then I hope that they pass the favor along, so time is the big thing. Feeding is one of the big problems because we primarily feed them mealworms – we get in about 10,000 mealworms per week. And we feed the mealworms a nutricious diet so that the bats are getting a good nutrition. So that the mealworms they eat are vitamin enriched, nice and plump and juicy and that kind of thing. So that’s what the challenge is – to make sure we have a steady supply. And so, we’re very fortunate we have a guy over in Ohio that supplies us, and he gives us a discount because we’re a rehab facility. And then occassionally some of my meal worms will go to help feed some of the birds at Sorin Hawk, especially when we get in things like Blue Birds, or Robins, or something like that. Or sometimes when we get in very young birds, so some of those additional worms we have. We always have an abundant supply because one year I ran out, and it was tough. I found other sources but you know. So that’s the biggest thing is time is the big thing, and when we have 100 bats in here it’s just working them all. Were down to a good proceedure but it helps to have somebody come in. Some of my volunteers when they do their initial training come in here once a week, help us clean everything, that kind of thing, also get used to handling bats. I had one woman who came in and she was fantastic with bats – just loved the bats. And then she went to feed the bats the meal worms, and not realizing the mealworms live she put her hand in the container with the mealworms. And the next thing I know we had mealworms scattered all over this room.”

Randy: “Oh no – that’s terrible!”

Bob: “So you know, we train everybody. Everybody gets trained, and that’s how we spread some of the workload out. But time is the biggest thing. Then after that, yeah, there’s some expense involved. Mainly it’s the food, and a little bit of veterinary care goes into it.”

Randy: “With regard to the food and veterinary care and the expenses involved with that, Animal Weekly is looking out for the welfare for the animals and things of that nature, and is there a way you would be interested in being contacted for charitable donations.”

Bob: “Oh sure – yeah – I’ll take your money if you’ve got any dusty old $50 bills . Yeah so they go onto our website down there.

Randy: “Which is?”

Bob: “, and our address is on there, and so yeah, we’re more than willing to accept donations and that helps us out. Our food bill for a year runs around $8,000. But that also includes the vitamins, minerals, all of the stuff we add in. We just finished preparing about 60 pounds of meal for the mealworms so they have something to eat. That’s 50 pounds of chic feed, vitamins, minerals, calcium, all the stuff that goes in there to enrich the mealworms so the bats get a good diet. You could see how the one mother was there – they get a good diet.”

Randy: “Yeah, well, right, they might not want to leave is the only problem, right?”

Bob: “Right.”

Randy: “Okay, well thank you so much for your time Bob, I’ve really appreciated and enjoyed this interview. You’re a complete wealth of information. I only wish I had 3 or 4 days to just hear the full story because it sounds like there’s a lot more than this.”

Bob: “Oh there’s a lot.. And like I said, go to there’s stories about the bats. There’s probably 10 years worth of stories there.”

Randy: “Ok, well make sure you visit his website, and learn a little bit more about bats and how you can help them in your community today. Thank you so much for your time again Bob, and this is Randy with Animal Weekly checking out and have a nice day!”

Bob: “Bye!”