Tiny Animal Falls Out Of Tree And Lands At Woman's Feet In Need Of Help

“She was beautiful” 😍

One day in October, Joette Westerburg had driven out to the town of Indian Trial, near Charlotte, North Carolina, to search for a goose who’d been hit by a car.

Close to the location of the reported accident, she spotted a gaggle of about 30 geese next to a pond. She studied the group, trying to figure out which goose was injured. Westerburg threw some oats — a favored treat for wild geese — onto the ground.

“Two of the geese were limping,” Westerburg, a volunteer ambulance driver for the nonprofit Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, told The Dodo. “So I was just standing there at the time, feeding the geese and trying to get them to move around a little bit so I could assess how serious their limbs looked.”

Bat rescue
Facebook/Carolina Waterfowl Rescue

That’s when something small and furry dropped at her feet. Westerburg peered down. It was a tiny animal. It looked like a mouse, but the creature had a reddish-brown coat and a tangle of limbs.

She realized it was a bat.

Facebook/Carolina Waterfowl Rescue

“I had to laugh at first because as lots of people in rescue know, when you're out there, animals just tend to find you,” she said. “So I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, of course a bat falls at my feet.’”

Her amazement turned into concern. Why had the bat fallen?

Facebook/Carolina Waterfowl Rescue

Westerburg scooped up the tiny animal in her empty oats container. Then she called her rescue group. But since Carolina Waterfowl Rescue did not specifically rescue bats, her colleagues suggested she get in touch with another rescue group called the Carolina Wildlife Conservation Center.

Upon the advice of the wildlife rescue group, Westerburg searched for a safe place to put the bat.

“I would come back and check on her the next day,” Westerburg said. “That was the original plan.”

She also got a stick for the bat to cling onto so she could take some pictures of her, so the rescue group could try and assess what was wrong with her.

Facebook/Carolina Waterfowl Rescue

“She was beautiful,” Westerburg said. “I had never seen a bat close up like that. I was fascinated by her color and her size. She was so little. She was probably the size of a mouse with wings.”

“She had this squished little face, and she was just really cute,” she added. “I was really amazed by her when she would stretch her wings out … trying to fly.”

Facebook/Carolina Waterfowl Rescue

Then, the unexpected happened: The little bat took off into the air. But her flight didn’t last long.

“She flies and she flies and then she lands right in the middle of the pond,” Westerburg said. “I was like, ‘Oh, no!’”

Westerburg dashed back to her car to get her water shoes and waded into the pond to look for her.

“I'm not seeing her and I'm worried that something's happened to her, that she's gone under the water and I was too late,” she said.

Facebook/Carolina Waterfowl Rescue

But then, she saw the bat at the edge of the pond. Westerburg called the team at Carolina Wildlife Conservation Center again, and this time, they told Westerburg to bring in the bat.

“I got the oats container back, and I put a washcloth in the bottom of it and then tucked her in there, so she was, like, nice and warm,” she said.

When the rescue group examined the bat, they found that she had a missing toe and bruised wings. But they believed, at the time, that she would be OK.

Later, Westerburg posted photos of the bat and her rescue story on Carolina Waterfowl Rescue's Facebook page.

“I don't think many people have had, you know, an up close bat experience like that,” Westerburg said. “It was really special.”