The orphaned bats at the Tolga Bat Hospital - Queensland - Australia

For the first time in my life, I have bothered to visit a hospital. And it was worth it. A visit to Tolga Bat Hospital i Queensland, Australia is changing all preconceived notions about bats. If you think all bats are scary vampires, then you definitely need to come here for a visit.

Tolga Bat Hospital

Almost 40 years ago people started to find the dying flying dogs lying on the ground i Atherton Tablelands. Some were still alive, but they could not move. They were trapped in their own body. It wasn't until the 90s that people began to understand how the bats fell from the trees. The reason was ticks. The bats appeared to have been affected Tick ​​paralysis – paralysis caused by a tick. Bats can be infected by ticks when they fly near tall grass, but it was only here in the highlands that the bats got sick, nowhere else in Australia. It also seemed that the bats were only affected for a few months in the fall. The months when the flying dogs have just had pups.

During the months when the tragedy is at its greatest, the Tolga Bat Hospital and their volunteers rescue hundreds of baby bats who are dehydrated and clinging to their dying mothers on the ground. And it's in a hurry. Flying dog babies are basically constantly nursing during their first weeks, so the little ones need help quickly. Unfortunately, the mothers are usually in such bad condition that they die, but if help arrives in time, the paralysis can be cured by removing the tick. Unfortunately, the bats that fell from the trees have already become very sick, so most of the 500 or so babies that come to the hospital every year are orphans.

Tolga Bat Hospital

At the hospital, the little babies are taken care of and wrapped in soft cloth to warm and remind of the mother's body, and are hand-fed with formula in a feeding bottle for up to 4 hours a day. "Bat burritos" is the nickname for the cute little wrapped baby bats. They almost look like little puppies lying in their warming basket, with their wings hidden in the "burrito". The vast majority of them also happily suck on a pacifier, as they are used to hanging on to their mother's chest constantly in the first few weeks. A way to create security for the little orphans.

Tolga Bat Hospital

After several months of care, it is time for the babies to come out and test their wings and start practicing eating their normal food - fruit. Because flying dogs are not terrifying bloodsuckers, in nature they mainly eat nectar, fruit and pollen from trees. In fact, flying dogs (also called fruit bats) are one of the most important helpers for earthbruket here in Australia, as they fly around pollinating fruit trees and spreading seeds.

Tolga Bat Hospital

Not only orphaned babies come to the hospital, but also injured bats. Hundreds of bats get stuck with their fragile wings in barbed wire every year and can't get free. In the hot Australian sun, they often die quickly of dehydration if they cannot be quickly lifted from the thorns. Bats that come in with damaged wings usually have a tough time ahead, with very few making a full recovery. Broken bones and torn wings can heal, but the ability to fly is rarely as good as before. So some bats stay in the hospital for the rest of their lives.

Tolga Bat Hospital

It's not just flying dogs that enter the hospital, although that's the vast majority of patients. Even smaller bats get caught in nets and injure themselves, so they also get to come here and rest.

Bats are essential to our ecosystem, but they are still very misunderstood and loathed by many people. To educate and spread knowledge about these amazing animals, Tolga Bat Hospital opened a visitor center in 2009. Here, students, locals and visitors can learn more about the curious and intelligent animals and see them up close as they frolic, nibble on grapes and enjoy from being scratched. But running a hospital costs money and the initiative runs entirely on donations and revenue from the visitor center. During high season, up to eight full-time volunteers are required to keep all the babies fed and warm. Just the fruit the bats eat costs AUD 5000 a year, so any donations are welcome.

Tolga Bat Hospital

Do you also want to visit the Tolga Bat Hospital? The hospital is located in Atherton, in the highlands 9 miles west of Cairns. Visiting hours are in the afternoon between 15-18 p.m., but it is absolutely necessary to pre-book. We hadn't pre-booked it, but took a chance and were just incredibly lucky to get in. Read more and book your visit at Tolga Bat Hospital. This is a holiday highlight for the whole family!

Don't have the roads past right now? Please watch the short film at National Geographic which tells more about Tolga Bat Hospital and how the hospital is run.

LEAVE AN ANSWER

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

About

Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 60 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel site Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.

Artiklar report

Hutt Lagoon - The pink lake - Western Australia - Australia

Some days bubblegum pink, other days brick red. The pink Hutt Lagoon offers a colorful spectacle no matter when you go here.

Camping cabins - Affordable family accommodation in Australia

A really good accommodation option for price-conscious families traveling in Australia is camping cabins - we tried it and loved it!

Travel to Australia with children - Tips before the trip

What is it really like to travel with children to Australia? Here are my best tips for the trip!

Mossman gorge - In the world's oldest rainforest - Australia

We are in Mossman Gorge in the land of the Kuku Yalanji people. For more than 50.000 years they have lived here in northern Queensland, in the world's oldest rainforest.

Volcanic lake in Crater Lakes National Park - Queensland - Australia

A giant volcanic explosion created what are today the lakes of Crater Lakes National Park in Queensland. We went here to hike and (hopefully) see the occasional Australian bush hen.

Nerada Tea Plantation - Among tree kangaroos and tea leaves in the Atherton tablelands - Queensland - Australia

The Atherton Tablelands is said to be the only place in the world where the climate can give you both coffee, tea, sugar and milk. Simply everything you need in life. We have visited Australia's largest tea plantation - Nerada.

Even more travel inspiration

Western Australia - A little film - Australia

Time to sum up our road trip in Western Australia from Perth to Monkey Mia - this time in a little film.

Fraser Island - the world's largest sand island - Queensland - Australia

Fraser Island in Queensland is a national park, a world heritage site and the world's largest sand island. Although the island consists of sand, there are also rainforests, freshwater lakes and a rich wildlife including dingos.

Pinnacles desert - The desert with the mysterious limestone players - Western Australia - Australia

Some deserts hide not only beauty and silence, but also mysteries. Like the limestone columns in the Pinnacles desert in Nambung National Park in Australia, which no one really understands how they were created.