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Friday, April 26, 2013

Bats Over Omaha 2013

The long-awaited, long-anticipated bat release is coming up this weekend! It looks like winds will be favorable and temperatures will be warm enough, so it's time to let our over-wintered little guys take flight.

This coming Sunday, April 28th, 2013. The event opens to the public at 6:30 PM.

Meet us on the lawn of the Joslyn Art Museum. Picnic suppers are welcome! Please leave your pets at home, though.

At 6:30 we'll begin with tables of fun, educational activities for kids, including some opportunities to meet some sweet bats face-to-face! (They will be kept in enclosures until the release begins.) 

At 8, our Executive Director, Laura Stastny, will give a very short presentation and make some remarks. The bats will take wing directly after! You'll be able to see them hop into the air from our volunteers' practiced hands right in front of you.


Why downtown Omaha? I live right near there. Are the bats going to come live in my house?
We release our bats at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha each year. This is a fabulous venue for several reasons — First, it allows you to come out and see the release and to learn more about bats. Second, it is close to home for many of the bats. Most of our bats come from eastern Omaha and there is good evidence to support that the bats "go home" when released. This means when we release downtown, we're giving most of the bats the shortest trip home. If you live in the neighborhood, don't worry — the bats aren't going to make a new roost in your house if you don't have bats there already. They are going to go back to their home roost as soon as they can.

Don't all bats have rabies? 
No! In fact, less than 1/2 of 1% of all bats carry rabies. Additionally, one of the great benefits to keeping these bats all winter is that our experienced wildlife rehabilitators can assure the bats we release are healthy and don't have any problems that would prevent their release. 
Although very few bats carry rabies, it is always critical that if you or someone you know is bit by any wild animal, that you report it to your doctor and the county health department immediately.  In Omaha and surrounding areas, the Nebraska Humane Society is also available to help, and Nebraska Wildlife Rehab staff is willing to answer your questions as well.  For reasonable information about bats and rabies, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/bats/

Will the bats land on me or my child? 
These big brown bats have ONE desire, and that is to get into the air and eat some bugs! During the release we ask the crowd to stand back and volunteers help keep a perimeter so the bats have room to fly.  If you are at the release and asked to step back, it is so the bats have room and to minimize the chance that one lands on you. 

Sometimes they do struggle with taking flight after not flying all winter, however. In the unlikely event a bat lands on you or your child, we ask that you stay calm, raise your hand, and stand still, and a volunteer will come over and get it. Do not touch it. Volunteers will be in the immediate vicinity to help, as we are all keeping an eye out for bats having difficulty taking wing.

We believe this event is the only one of its kind in the United States-- an unusual event where the public is invited to watch such a large number of bats released back into the wild. We at Nebraska Wildlife Rehab are extremely proud to share this wonderful learning opportunity with you, and to serve as ambassadors to these unique and beneficial mammals.     

Bat release is free and open to the public.  Please invite your friends! Hope to see you Sunday night!

Think the bat release is awesome? So do we! We want to keep bringing this to you every year, so Nebraska Wildlife Rehab is trying to raise $150,000.00 to help Great Plains wildlife, including bats, right here in the Heartland. Please help us! Visit our fundraising page and donate now!

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