Clinic Stories

Show and Tell

Very occasionally we see a bat at the office. With one exception they are bats that have gotten into a house or bitten a person or animal and are injured or being sent for rabies testing. About 6% of bats that are submitted for rabies testing have the virus. In 1997 a New Jersey man died from rabies after handling a bat in his house even though he was wearing gloves.

The sad exception occurred when a boy brought a bat to grade school show and tell in Wayne. The teacher called animal control and learned that the bat was his grandfather's pet. His grandfather found him as a baby bat (they are called pups) and had him for 15 years. It seems shocking that a bat can live that long but indeed bats can live for up to 40 years. Although it is not illegal to keep a bat as a pet – you can buy them online – this one was not returned.

Bats are popular in books, cartoons, movies and video games and even one breakfast cereal has a spokesbat – Count Chocula. To liven up a dinner party try naming famous bats or see who can come up with the best bat name. The best I found was Bloody Mary.

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