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NJWIT Goes Bats for BATS!

April 27, 2014

On Sunday, April 27th, Dale Swisher, Cheryl Katzman and Carla Loffredo visited the NJ Bat Santuary nestled in bucolic Hunterdon County along the Delaware River. One of the main purposes of NJBats is to provide rescue and rehabilitation of little brown bats, one of New Jersey’s nine bat species. We met Jackie Kashmer who is devoting her spare time to saving the little brown bats from white- nose syndrome, a 
fungus that attacks the 
bats' wings and causes the membranes to dissolve. 
 When that happens in the mine, where the bats have been hibernating, the bats cannot fly and eventually starve to death.   To date, close to 30,000 bats have been eradicated because of this deadly disease!
We are dependent on bats for our survival as they play an 
important part in keeping insects under control. Bats eat half their weight in insects a day.  If insects are allowed to feast on our crops, prices will go up, and the amount of pesticides used by farmers will increase and we don't need any more insecticides in our streams and fields.  
Jackie was a licensed wildlife rehabilitator who became interested in bat welfare.  It was a treat to see her reach her hand into a small, covered cage, and come out with a tiny brown critter.  We learned about the care and feeding of her bats as she spends about 4 hours a night hand feeding some of her charges.  They eat thousands of meal worms a week, and they want them fresh, not a day old. We even got to touch these adorable, yes adorable, little animals. They weigh no more than a nickel and are no larger than 2 or 3 inches.
 In addition to the bats, Jackie has a pot belly pig named Valentine, two Maltese dogs and a beautiful cat named Fluffy, who belonged to a neighbor but decided she preferred Jackie's house.  And thanks to Jackie's partner, Doug, we also got to see the most wonderful exhibit of Lionel O gauge trains, complete with stations, people, bridges and landscaping.  What a treat.
To learn more about Jackie's refuge and read about the importance of saving NJ's little brown bats, please visit her web site and consider donating to this important c