Who is Statler? Meet the oldest living bat in captivity that has charmed the Internet
On Tuesday, February 2, a bat was trending on social media. 2020 saw a fair share of this happen largely because of the coronavirus pandemic, which is believed to have originated from bats. But unlike last year, this time, it was something positive.
Meet Statler, the elderly bat!
Journalist Yashar Ali tweeted a video from The Dodo, an American media brand focused on animals' stories and animal rights issues. He wrote, “Statler is an elderly fruit bat whose best flying days are behind him. But the team at @batworld still gives this senior citizen a thrill by holding him up so he can fly. They even have a bowl of fruit he can dive into… just like the old days.” Others joined him in tweeting about the geriatric winged mammal. Needless to say, Statler managed to charm the internet.
Statler is an elderly fruit bat whose best flying days are behind him.— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) February 2, 2021
But the team at @batworld still gives this senior citizen a thrill by holding him up so he can fly.
They even have a bowl of fruit he can dive into...just like the old days.@dodo pic.twitter.com/HvKWFSSsMl
Oh man.— Brian Solis (@briansolis) February 2, 2021
Meet Statler, a 33 year old injured bat that still believes he can fly…and can, with a little help from his friends. 🥺🦇
Bats in the wild live on average 5-6 years. In captivity that’s extended to around 20 years. Statler here is 33 years old! 🦇♥️🦇pic.twitter.com/zcQfYVAniH— Barnaby Edwards (@BarnabyEdwards) February 2, 2021
I feel like Statler is doing way better than I was at 33. https://t.co/VnVpNB1Ayo— Kat Kinsman (@kittenwithawhip) February 2, 2021
Bat World Sanctuary, a non-profit, accredited organization with the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries founded in 1994, as per its website, is on the front line “to end the mistreatment of bats. Each year we rescue hundreds of bats who might otherwise die. Lifetime sanctuary is given to non-releasable bats, including those that are orphaned, injured, and rescued from the exotic pet trade, zoos, and research facilities.”
According to Bat World Sanctuary, on April 28, 2020, Statler turned 33. As per the organization, the elderly animal had a difficult life before he found a home with them two years ago -- “He was born in a zoo and has a few battle scars, and somehow over the years he lost an eye”. Allegedly, the now-defunct small Michigan zoo where he stayed before has mistreated him. Statler’s mistreatment also led to several broken bones which now contribute to his arthritis that leaves him unable to fly.
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The oldest living bat in captivity, per the organization, loves to recline in a hammock where his favorite foods are close by. He gets arthritis medication every day as well as a warm facial and gentle brushes. Bat World Sanctuary also allows people to virtually adopt him. It’s essentially a fundraiser where patrons, in exchange for a donation, would receive a package consisting of a custom certificate with the person’s name of your choice, the full story of Statler, his species information and a graphic, as well as photos, links to a Statler playlist with some of his best videos, and a digital copy of an annual rescue magazine.
Amanda Lollar, the Founder and President of Bat World Sanctuary, was the recipient of the 2016 Carole Noon Award for Sanctuary Excellence. The award is given annually to a sanctuary or individual who "embodies and puts into practice the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries philosophy of vision, dedication, and excellence in animal care."
It is presented in honor of Carole Noon, the founder of Save the Chimps in Fort Pierce, Florida, the world’s largest chimpanzee sanctuary. "Bats are miraculous creatures that deserve our protection. They are highly intelligent, have remarkable language skills, and form deep social connections. It has been my life’s work and my greatest joy to defend and support the species," said Lollar then.