08/09/2011 04:44 pm ET | Updated Oct 09, 2011

Leslie Sturges, Bat Rehabilitator, A Real-Life Superhero (VIDEO)

She may not be a costumed crime-fighter, but for the animals in her home, Leslie Sturges is a superhero.

Sturges operates a wildlife rehabilitation center for bats in her northern Virginia home. As she explains in the video below from The Washington Post, bats aren't a nuisance for her. "I have a special affinity for things that other people tend to like the least," she says.

By day, Sturges, 50, is a park naturalist in Montgomery County, Maryland, the paper reports. But by night, she becomes a real-life Batwoman. In her temperature and humidity controlled basement rehabilitation center, Sturges uses a tweezers to feed the bats mealworms, and talks to them as they recover from various injuries.

In the video, she explains that she feels “a very strong need to be a voice for these animals” and “this is a way of doing it.”

Sturges is the director of Bat World NOVA, according to its website. The site also reports that she has been helping bats for nearly a decade, since attending Bat Boot Camp at Bat World Sanctuary. In the video, Sturges estimates that there are about 300 others in the U.S. who rehabilitate bats.

Bats have increased in popularity recently, as new studies have recently revealed how vampire bats detect blood and a plant that “talks back” to bats.

A deadly disease, white-nose syndrome, has killed over one million bats in the past five years, and experts predict that the current drought in Texas will have a drastic effect on local bat populations.

The UNEP announced 2011 as the Year of the Bat. To learn more about their conservation efforts, visit