Bats generally get a pretty bad rap among humans -- we accuse them of sucking our blood, getting stuck in our hair and scaring the living daylights out of Christian Bale. But a video released by friends of the Australian Bat Clinic earlier this year and now going viral online, shows that bats -- at least orphaned baby fruit bats -- are just as adorable as your average BuzzFeed cute animal list.
The clip shows Bat Clinic worker (and fruit bat surrogate mother) Trish Wimberley, whose job entails looking caring for the babies until they can be released back into the wild.
Trish Wimberley looks after hundreds of orphaned baby bats and rears them until they can be released into the wild. It's a tireless, never ending job which keeps her awake all hours (she apparently went 3 nights without sleeping once). A typical day may include feeding (the food is about $1000 a week), health checks, doing their laundry (the dryer and washing machine electricity bill costs up to $8000 every 3 or 4 months!), bat transportation for release -- everything they need in order to survive.
A unique mammal given its ability to fly, fruit bats -- sometimes known as flying-foxes -- are part of the Megachiroptera suborder, according to Brittanica. In Australia, there are about a dozen different species of the large bats, eating mostly plant products including fruits, flowers and nectar, according to the Australian government's Department of Sustainability and Environment.
The animals are essential to maintaining the Australian ecosystem, according to the Department of Sustainability and Environment, as they spread pollen and seeds over long distances, facilitating germination.
They are vulnerable when young and can easily become orphaned, as were a group of 98 fruit bats were rescued by an animal hospital in Brisbane, Australia in 2011.