About Pet Bats
Try to imagine what this feels like…
Someone takes you captive, you don’t know why. You don’t speak their language and you are powerless to escape. You have no idea what they want of you, and you are terrified. Your captor locks you into a bathroom. This bathroom has a window covered with a shade, but you are not allowed to open it to get fresh air, or even look outside. There is a sink, but only your captor knows how to turn the water on. There is a toilet where you can eliminate, but only your captor decides when it should be flushed. You get the same thing to eat day after day after day after day. When you don’t feel good no one knows how to help, so you suffer in pain. There are no pictures on the walls, no TV, no computer, no phones, and no friends. You have absolutely nothing whatsoever to help you pass the endless days and nights. If you are lucky you might have a companion, but otherwise you are completely alone, and this is where you will spend every single day for the rest of your natural life.
This is what a bat feels when we take it into captivity. It has lost all control of its world. As captors, we control everything about that animals’ daily life. What it eats, when it gets fresh water, when its cage is cleaned, whether or not it gets fresh air, has companions, and whether or not it has enrichment to brighten its caged life.
Having a pet bat might make you feel cool, but people who know better (and most of them do) feel that it is a horrible cruelty and they cringe when they see people keeping a wild animal as a pet. Aside from that, the act of keeping a bat as a pet will cause it to experience terror, inappropriate and damaging nutrition and terrible loneliness and boredom.
Bats are capable of living over 25 years. Bats kept as pets rarely survive more than one year. A total waste of life as well as the $800 to $2,500 you spent on having a cool “pet.”
Additionally, bats are protected by law at many levels. Regulations govern the taking of bats from the wild, and the transfer of bats is carefully regulated by the state and federal governments. USDA permits from the Animal Health Inspection Service are often required, special permitting regulations can apply at the state level, and interstate laws prohibit transport of these animals without special authority.
If you truly love bats and would like to get involved in helping them, please consider becoming a wildlife rehabilitator. Bat World Sanctuary offers information free of charge on their Bat Rehabilitation page. There are also wildlife rescue centers in almost every state that give classes and offer volunteer opportunities in wildlife rehabilitation. Contact your state department of wildlife for more information.
Please note: If you already have a “pet bat” and want to better its life by placing it into a sanctuary, please contact Bat World at firstname.lastname@example.org. They will be happy to help, no questions asked.