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“A lot of people are dis- gusted by bats,” Loller said. “There’s so many misconcep- tions about them. The reality is they are just little flying two inch monkeys.”
Bats are often thought to be flying mice – but actually aren’t even in the rodent fami- ly. They have their own group, “Chiroptera,’ which means “hand wing.”
Another misconception Loller frequently sees is that all bats carry rabies. While bats are certainly capable of contracting and transmitting rabies, less than one-half of one percent of bats actually contract the disease, according to Loller.
Half the bats in the U.S. are considered to be rare, threatened, or endangered.
“Bats are one-fourth of the animal species on the planet,” Loller said. “If we lose them, we’ll lose the planet.”
Loller set up a permanent home for her sanctuary, first in downtown Mineral Wells and then near Cool.
“I actually bought a build- ing in downtown Mineral Wells specifically to save the bats that were already inside,” Loller said. “There were proba- bly 20,000 of them.”
In July 2018, the center’s current home was holding between 15,000-20,000 bats, many of whom will be released back into the wild when they are ready. Summertime is orphan season and Loller stays busy during those months, taking bats from all over the world. Any bat with a perma- nent injury unable to survive in the wild will have a home there for its entire life, which can last between 25-40 years with good health. Loller has taken advantage of the proxim- ity for research.
“We’ve learned that bats have 25 different vocalizations,” Loller said. “Their intelligence is equal to dolphins.”
Perhaps more fascinat-
ing - Loller said bats actually use syntax in their vocaliza- tions and can form sentences. Loller and volunteers work around the clock to care for the thousands of bats, and have installed live “bat-cams” inside
Bats in good health live between 25-40 years.
 Bats make up one-fourth of the animal species on the planet, and half the bats in the United States are considered to be rare, threatened, or endangered.
The Community News Your Parker County
2019 61
the center so visitors to the website can watch the bats eat, sleep, and play. They also offer bat sponsorships as a fundrais- ing tool.
Loller also uses Batworld to help train animal rehabbers and other educational pro- grams.
If you find a bat, Loller said there are certain steps you should take to ensure its safe rescue.
“The first thing to do is make sure it’s out of danger,” Loller said. “Scoop it up, but not barehanded. If you pick it up barehanded and it bites you, then you’ve ruined all chances of saving it because it’ll have to be put down for a rabies test.
“Even a baby can try to bite. They might be small but they still have teeth, which are used to hang onto their mother.”
Loller said the key is secur- ing the bat inside a box with air holes and immediately call- ing a rescuer. Bat World has trained rescuers around the globe. Bat World also rescues bats from the exotic pet trade and other cases of animal mis- treatment.
“Bats help us in so many ways,” Loller said. “I just want to do as much as I can for them.”
For more information, visit bat or call 940-325- 3404.
-Rosealee Hoffman

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