“Bats act as reservoirs for over 200 viruses, many of which cause severe, often life-threatening, diseases in humans, livestock and wildlife.”
Bats and Viruses
A recent (January 2020) publication from Caister Academic Press suggests that research into the molecular and cellular biology of virus-host interactions may be key to development of strategies for prevention of bat-borne zoonotic infections.
No doubt, the recent COVID-19 pandemic will create new and greater needs for laboratory based research with bats.
Bat Husbandry and Housing
Information on the care and use of laboratory bats is…well…sparse.
Working with current customers that are actually using bats in the lab, we have learned that:
- Housing should be “cavernous”. I.e., a fairly large volume to allow decent flight behaviors.
- Smaller mesh sizes are needed for animal safety and for grasping by small hands.
- Minimize gaps and spaces where wings and appendages might get caught.
- Large personnel entries to allow hand and/or net capture.
Based on our bat customer inputs, we are focused on a 24-square foot enclosure.
We made it “break-apart” to simplify husbandry and safety. Each half will fit in typical cage/rack washers and autoclaves. Minimal internal obstructions ensure good contact of internal surfaces by cage wash spray patterns.
We hope this cage will be a valuable tool in the battle against COVID-19, and, the prevention of future bat-borne illnesses.