Thanks to the help of the Aquarium’s veterinary staff and Dr. Anne Minihan, a surgical specialist from Chesapeake Veterinary Surgery Specialty, Ayers, a grey-headed flying fox, or fruit bat, is now recovering from a broken wing.
Ayers is a 7 year old flying fox that lives in the Aquarium’s Australia exhibit. In mid-August, he suffered a distal humerus fracture. Ayers’ skin was torn open allowing his humerus bone to protrude through. This type of injury is difficult to stabilize and put Ayers at risk for developing an infection. In bats, the humerus bone is surrounded by tissue that creates the flying surface of the wing, so a cast was not an option.
The best chance Ayers had to regain full function of his wing was to bring in Anne Minihan to complete a surgical fixation. Surgery was performed the day after the fracture occured, and it went very well but the recovery process is a slow one. There are several pins in place to stabilize the bone as it heals. Ayers has been using his wing and thumb regularly now and is scheduled for another check by the orthopedic surgeon in the next few weeks. Even though Ayers is not fully recovered, the aviculturists in the Australia exhibits have said he is acting like his batty self again!
Bats are commonly associated with Halloween and tend to frighten many people! Contrary to common believe, bats have no intention of bringing harm to humans. In fact, they do more for us than you may think. Insect-eating bats protect our crops, keeping costs down at the market. Fruit-eating bats help with pollination and seed dispersal, thus providing us with many commercial products and medicines. Survival efforts are imperative worldwide because bats are such a vital part of our ecosystem. This halloween, celebrate bats!