My nocturnal friend

Submitted into Contest #78 in response to: Write about someone who keeps an unusual animal as a pet.... view prompt



I found Draco two years ago when I was in Texas doing research in one of the local bat caves, he was very young a severely injured, I knew taking in a vampire bat would be risky but I really couldn’t help myself. I bottled fed him back to health with the full intention of setting him free but every time I tried he would find his way back to me. My father built him is very own bat house that looks just like Dracula’s castle, the house is in a very large enclosure, he turns in there every morning to sleep every morning or to use the washroom. You would think that having a nocturnal animal would be a problem but seeing as how my research requires me to be out at night we are a match made in heaven. The only issue I have is keeping Draco fed a 40gram bat eats half his body weight in blood every night. Lucky for me there is a hospital  within walking distance of my house. At first the nurse thought I was crazy when I asked to purchase blood that will still room temperature or warmer but when I told who it was for she just shook her head and gave it to me for free. Keeping my furry little friend fed and happy was very important the last thing I wanted was to be seen as a food source. I recently obtained a grant that would allow we to travel Australia and study nocturnal predators at first I was really reluctant about taking him with me but I couldn’t find anyone to take of him for the two months I would be gone plus I couldn’t imagine leaving him behind. Of course I had to go through the proper legal channels to get Draco ready for travel, I was able to keep him under my seat on the plane in a little cat carrier; there would would be no way that he would survive a 21hr and 45 minute flight under neath the plane. I slept during the day while he did and while the other passengers were fast asleep I would take him out and feed him blood through an eye dropper. When I stepped out of the plane the bright Australian sun assaulted my eyes, being some what of a nocturnal night creature myself I really wished I remember my sun glasses. I had a blanket draped over the cat carrier, it blocked out the sun but didn’t raise the temperature in the carrier. 

Lucky for us I had a aunt who lived there which was cheaper than trying to find accommodations for the next couple of months. She let Draco and I stay in the guest house, it was much smaller then my place in Texas but I was able to make a makeshift bat house for Draco, I could tell that he was less then impressed with it but it would have to do fro the duration of our trip. 

“I know bud it’s not a castle but its best I can do, but we better get some sleep we have a long night a head of us.” I kissed Draco on the head and hung him from the bat house, when I woke up that evening he was curled up by my neck. 

“Okay I get it you hate the house, I better not wake up to you chewing on my neck.” He just lifted up his head and looked at me. We ate and prepared for our first night out, we were to meet with David and his research team, unlike Texas the Australian outback was much to dangerous to me wondering around at night especially if you are out looking for predators. I grabbed my side back and told Draco to get inside, it wasn’t his favourite way to travel but I couldn’t have him flying around. David was waiting outside for us, he took one look at my side bag and laughed. 

“There better not be a dog in there.” Draco stuck his head out the top of the bag, David almost spit out his coffee. 

“Is it customary for all woman from Texas to carry a flying mouse in their side bags?”

“Not the normal ones, and I wasn’t born in Texas, I moved there from Canada with my parents when I was a teenager.” Now it was my turn to laugh. “Don’t worry he is harmless, I rescued him when he was just a pup and he has already had his fill of blood. So what are we tracking tonight?”

David cleared his throat; “We are on our way to the docks, Mick and Sammy are waiting for us with a boat. We will be tagging female crocodiles, they will be out hunting and away from their nests. It’s much easier to do during the day but they are far more aggressive when they are guarding their hatchlings.”

Draco looked up at me like he was concerned about the very foolish adventure we were about to embark upon. “It will be okay buddy, just stay put and you will be safe.” 

Within the hour the four of us were on a boat surrounded by glowing yellow eyes, but it wasn’t the crocodiles that I was worried about the water was teaming with hippopotamus, a angry hippo was ten times more dangerous then a crocodile. By day break we tagged over a dozen large females and kept all of our limbs intact while doing so. When Draco and I reached the guest house I was so tired I almost didn’t make it to the bed. The next couple months was the same thing and by the time we were ready to go home I had a fifteen page report on the hunting and mating habits of most of the out back predators. When we got back home, I turned in my report and took some much needed time off. Of course I kept my sleeping habits the same and I would have to do that for the next eighteen years, bats in captivity live much longer then those that live in the wild. 

Over the years Draco and I had many, many adventures together, people often asked me I couldn’t be content with owning a dog, cat or even a hamster. My reply was always the same, why settle for normal my life with Draco was far from normal, very trying most times especially as he got older, he was never aggressive towards me or other people and for that I am grateful.  My parents loved Draco and when I rescued Elvira they loved her just the same. She was born with a very rare disease and was unable to have pups which made her useless for the zoo’s breeding program, when I found out what they did with animals that had no use I didn’t thing twice about opening my home to her. It was a bit of an adjustment at first, Draco was a little jealous but as time went on he warmed up to her and so did the rest of my family. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without them, my friends and family tell me that I am a amazing person to take wild animals that could have died in the wild, but I didn’t save those precious creatures they where the ones who saved me. 

January 24, 2021 05:10

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