Colorado Bat Rescue saving bats stuck on flypaper

Bat rehabbers beg people to stop using flypaper

AURORA, Colo. -- A Colorado bat rescue group says it has received several calls about bats trapped on flypaper, and they are begging people to quit using the sticky film to control insects.

Sachiko Boland, known as "Batwoman" to those close to her, says her mission running Colorado Bat Rescues is clear.

"Look at that face! How could you not love that face," said Boland, holding one of her rescued bats. "They are more than just little bug eaters or some people think flying rodents. They are imperative to our ecosystem."

But she recently shot video of a rescue operation that is becoming all too common: a bat stuck to a piece of glue paper meant to trap insects, but instead trapping the animals that eat them. The bat's wings were torn and its fur ripped off while it struggled to escape.

"It is screaming while I am trying to remove it from the paper," said Boland. "It's clearly an animal that is in pain. It's probably the worst sound you can hear from a bat."

If the bat is found in time and survives, it can take hours to free the animal from the sticky paper, using mineral oil and Dawn to wash off the glue, and then the bat often needs months of rehab to heal.

"I was horrified. I had no idea. I was one of those people that had no idea," said Denise Schaefer, a licensed bat rehabilitator who is helping nurse two of the so-called 'Glue Bats' back to health. "They're so misunderstood. They are sweet animals with individual personalities."

Bat lovers are quick to point out that bats can eat up to 1,200 mosquito-sized insects per night, and that they actually contract rabies far less than other animals.

So, Boland said, instead of using flypaper to keep bugs under control, try using citronella candles, natural repellant sprays or even building your own bat house to attract bats who will eat the bugs.

Boland said they will go out to rescue an injured bat if they are called. Colorado Bat Rescue's bat phone number is 1-866-909-2287.

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