Over the years, bats have gotten a pretty bad rep. Halloween doesn't really help the cause either. Bats don't conjure up cuddly images in your mind the way kittens and puppies always do — until now.
The Tolga Bat Hospital in Atherton, Australia, is showing the tiny creatures in an adorable new light. The hospital rescues and releases hundreds of baby fruit bats each year, thanks in part to the volunteers who travel hundreds of miles to the nonprofit center. About 300 bat pups are orphaned in the area annually, usually when their mother becomes too sick to feed them or they fall ill to tick paralysis.
The care for the winged babies is very similar to that of human babies. They drink milk from a bottle, love to be swaddled in a blanket, and are bathed in a sink. After a bath, baby bats also have their fur combed.
In addition to caring for babies, Tolga also rehabilitates injured adults. Some bats even come here to retire after a long career at a zoo. Here's a travel tip: If you find yourself in Far North Queensland, you can actually visit the little guys.
The hospital, which offers tours, charges $18 for adults and $10 for kids.