Friday, September 9, 2011

Hindsight is a good thing ...

Flying fox photo by Grahame McConnell
A barbed wire encounter
John, Briony and I were walking home after the monthly music jam session, when Bri spotted a flying fox entangled in the barbed wire of a fence. The poor thing had snagged its wing on the barbs and was flapping piteously. Not being one to leave an animal suffer (especially a native species and threatened one at that), Briony tried to untangle the wing from the barbs. The bat, sensing rescue, hung on to her, so John and I stepped in to help. Briony and I held the bat while John tried to free the wing. Understandably, that would have been painful for the bat, so all three of us received a few swift penetrating bites (all things considered I thought the bat showed reasonable restraint). Didn't hurt too much: I've had kittens inflict more damage. Soon the bat was free and it struggled off into the darkness. All G, as Tess would say: the flying fox otherwise would have suffered a slow and painful death. All three of us were glad we were able to rescue it and we ambled home.


The next mornings' internet research showed me that there are several nasty viruses that can be contracted by being bitten or scratched by a flying fox, most notably the Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABL), which is a bit like rabies. A lot like rabies, in fact, and is treated in much the same way. So now the three of us have to have immunoglobulin injections into the bite sites (that will hurt more than the original bites, I'm sure!!) as well as a course of rabies shots the coming days and weeks.

Darn. As John said "Probably would have been better to have let the blighter hanging on the fence!". But then, as Briony said to the doctor after he informed her that the inoculations would give several years' immunity against ABL and rabies "Great, now I can get to play with bats!".

All in all another adventure in the Northern Rivers...


Marc said...

Ah, so you've been bitten by a bat too! So have I - the girls found a wounded bat in the back yard. We took it inside while we contacted teh animal rescue vets. It flew around some, and bit me when I tried to catch it. But we made friends later, and there are photo's of it walking up and down my arms and shoulders.

But Nick has been bitten by a monkey! It was at Apenheul zoo in The Netherlands, a zoo specially for primates and a lot of them roam around free. He was about 10 years old at the time I think.

Dr. Mieke said...

I remember! We (MYTH) were there when he got bitten ... I've got some good photos of that day (not the bitey bit alas) :-D

Marc said...

That's right! You had had to wait until little Yarrow could go without her dummy or pacifier or bung or whatever you call them. She used them two at a time. But the monkeys would steal them. So she had to go without for two hours. Ack! Anguish! Drama!

That monkey was so cute. He sat on Nick's lap eating some nuts. A little young monkey, soft brown fur, those little hands, round gentle eyes, and an friendly impish smile which then he opened and suddenly sank his long razor sharp teeth into Nick's finger.

The nurse said he was probably just curious. "What? To see what I taste like?" asked an extremely annoyed Nick. "Yes," said the nurse and gave him a bright smile and a bandage. I asked if Nick would need shots or anything but she said oh no, the all the animals there were free of disease.

Joanne Casey said...

"Awwww" and "Damn the little shit" all at once.