Presentation on theme: "Care and release of microbat pups by Kathryn Davis Feeding and care of juveniles Potential survival of orphan pups Feeding un-weaned orphan pups Feeding."— Presentation transcript:
Care and release of microbat pups by Kathryn Davis Feeding and care of juveniles Potential survival of orphan pups Feeding un-weaned orphan pups Feeding orphan pups during weaning Feeding weaned orphan pups Release of juveniles Learning to catch insects on the wing Juvenile crèche: surrogate mothers Flying practice: stage 1, 2, and 3 Soft release
Potential survival of orphaned microbat pups 1. Most pups should be fully furred within 7 to 10 days, already being weaned 2. If a microbat pup is un-furred it must be treated as un-weaned 3. If a pup is furred, but smaller than an adult of that species try it on milk solution 4. Pups must be kept warm (not hot) at all times ***However, if a pup remains un-furred for more than 5 days, it may have been rejected by its mother due to a congenital problem. The pup may appear healthy; playing, and eating well. Such pups may last more than three weeks, before dying suddenly.
Food for un-weaned orphan pups (less than 10 days old): (Feed volumes and frequency are approximates) Food source: Use either: Di-Vetelact: adding 1 to 2 drops un-thickened fresh cream for richness, Wambaroo: adding a little more water for volume (or some other suitable milk) 1. I use a dropper (contains = 1mL) offering 1 to 3 drops at a time (1 drop = 0.05mL). 2. The pup shows ‘when’, and ‘how’ it wants to be fed, usually wanting to ‘play’ during feeds. 3. Volumes of feed can be estimated from above: with a total of approx 1mL per feed (every 4 to 6 hours).
Feeding orphaned pups during weaning ** Feeding orphaned pups calcium (Ca) during weaning: Offer milk solution as above, plus, soft worms dipped in milk powder! This step is vital to maintain calcium (Ca) for bone strength. **Milk powder should also be given to any captive mother to supplement calcium (Ca) offered in her milk
Feeding weaned pups 1. Continue to add milk powder to food; either in same dish as solid food, or in a separate dish. 2. Most microbats (juveniles and adults) eagerly accept milk powder with food. 3. Milk powder maintains protein, vitamin, and mineral balance. 4. Solid food options: moths, mealworms, egg custard, uncooked mince rolled with raw egg, crickets, other local ‘clean’ insects.
Release of juveniles: Learning to catch insects on the wing 1. If the juvenile’s mother is present and is releasable then the juvenile quickly learns from her to catch insects on the wing 2. Orphans may learn to catch insects on the wing, on their own, since there is a high innate component involved in this behaviour 3. If a captive female gives birth, she may ‘adopt’ other juveniles during flying lessons for her own pups
Juvenile crèche 1.Most microbat pups (captive born or orphaned) survive long-term when fed high calcium supplements during, and after weaning 2. **Orphaned pups may be ‘adopted’ by short-term captive mothers, even if from a different species 3. Potentially releasable juveniles and adults, irrespective of species, fly together, and even co-habitat each others’ tank so long as it is their choice. You cannot mix species, or have more than one male in a tank IF THE LID IS KEPT ON. They must be free to choose!
Flying lesson: Stage 1: Circular flight path Mother leads and continues flying whilst juveniles stop for rests before resuming
Flying lesson: Stage 2: ‘Figure of 8’ flight-path 1. Juveniles able to fly for longer periods. 2. Juveniles and mother take turns at lead
Flying lesson: Stage 3: Random direction around obstacles Mother still shows some control as leader, choosing path through branches
Soft release 1.Juvenile microbats form loose social groups within a crèche 2.Release programs may involve adult and juvenile social groups 3.Both adults and juveniles should be micro-chipped with tiny chip inserted under ‘tummy’ before release (Dr Teri Bellamy willing to obtain and insert microchips) 4. At release, each bat may be placed in a ‘familiar’ unsealed bag, placed in a typical microbat tank on a table under cover, at release site. 5.Leave tank closed until late at night. Open top, covering loosely with familiar cloth and allow microbats to self-release. Provide food and water support for at least a week. 6.Micro-chipping would provide scientific data regarding survival and migration of released microbats (adults and juveniles) 7.Carers would need to check for a micro-chip upon microbats coming into care
Adult microbats brought into care. What are the options? 1.Adult females from April-June are most likely pregnant 2.If a female is unable to be released within a few days, what are the options? 3.Release during cool to cold nights? Not an option if insects are not available 4.Euthanasia? Rarely, this would result in 3 deaths (mum and usual 2 pups) 5.Allow female to give birth in care and release all 3 (if mum is releasable) during spring: All must be housed in appropriately sized flight cage/room 6.To maintain healthy mums and bubs add milk powder as choice of food, with solids 7.Continue milk powder for mums and pups after weaning! 8.Orphaned pups can be taught to fly and catch insects on the wing by a mum of different species so long as the room is large enough and the choice to bond is that of both mum and bubs 9.All may be released together using a ‘soft-release’ program
Recommendations 1.There should be microbat juvenile release programs similar to that of Flying-fox juveniles 2.If carers are unable to keep adult females brought into care PLEASE consider passing them on to someone able, and willing, to care for them 3.There is NO evidence that keeping a microbat for longer than a few weeks will result in imprinting (Mormopterus are stubborn and lazy despite length in care) 4.Care for microbats and Flying-foxes should be parallel: don’t release either in adverse conditions. Both respond to personal care without hindering release 5.Even microbat mothers with one wing missing may successfully give birth and look after her pups to release stage without adverse effects
Future research 1.Use of cameras to record juvenile flight patterns 2.Sonagrams of mother and pups during development, using Anabat detector 3.Radio-tracking of released microbats to confirm success of rehabilitation programs