Saturday, June 13, 2009

How to Build a Pet Bat Cage

(Egyptian fruit bat in a homemade bat cage)

It may sound strange, but a bat can make a great pet. You can't just catch a bat and keep it though. A bat must be acquired it through a legitimate source. A legitimate source is an exotic pet dealer, and the animal must be born in captivity. If you can attain a bat through these avenues, you can keep a bat. You'll need to build a 6 x 6 x 6-foot tall cage for your new bat, and learn how to maintain a healthy living environment for your pet.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You'll Need:

  • 24 (6-foot wood 2 x 4 studs)
    9 (5-foot wood 1 x 2 studs
    120 square feet of plastic mesh
    72 square feet of half inch plywood
    Tape measure
    Staple gun
    Slide bolt hardware


Step 1:

(Completed bat cage)

First, double check and make sure you have all of your supplies.

Keep in mind the entire process should take about four hours. Actual sizes may vary, but this particular cage is 6'x6'x6'. Door size is up to the builder.

Step 2:

(frame detail)

Each wall requires five 2x4's, and each one should be 6'x6'. A 2x4 frame panel should have a top stud and bottom stud, each one 6 feet long with three upright 2x4's. There should be one upright 2x4 at each end and one in the middle. Use a power drill to secure the frame together with long screws. Mark a vertical line across the two boards at a point one inch from each end. Drill three holes, one inch apart, along these lines with a quarter-inch drill bit. Connect the boards. Use a Phillips screwdriver to screw six 9c bolts into each of the holes on two planks.

Step 3:

(mesh ceiling detail)

After the four wall panels are made the ceiling panel should be made the same with three ceiling support 2x4's (rather than just one). After measuring 6'x6' of mesh for each wall and the ceiling use a side cutter or tin snips to cut the wire. With a staple gun, use as many staples as necessary to staple the mesh to the wood. Leave half of one side un-screened for the door. With the screen mesh inward, the panel should be screwed together, making the four walls and the ceiling panel applied to the top (Make sure there aren't any edges of mesh sticking out so the bats don't snag themselves. You can use 1x2's to stabilize any loose wire mesh.). If you're using galvanized mesh, make sure to wash it with vinegar solution to sterilize it before placing bats in the cage. If If everything is secure, the door should now be created.

Step 4:

(door detail)

With some hinges, and simple slide bolt hardware, a plywood door can be cut to size (3x6 for this case) on the panel with the door opening. Use a tape measure and pencil to mark a 3x6 rectangle on the plywood. Use a saw to cut along the line. Use a power drill to screw the triangular side of the hinges onto the plywood. The other half of the hinges should be drilled onto the cage. There will be one hinge on top, one in the middle, and one at the bottom of the door.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have more space, you'll have an easier job constructing the cage. An empty garage is recommended.
    Use proper tools and materials. Don't use old drills or used wood.
    Put 6'x6' of plywood above the mesh ceiling. This will make the cage a little bit darker for the bats, and they'll feel more secure.
  • Do not keep this cage outside. The best place to keep your pet bats is either a garage or basement with windows.
    Since fruit bats come from tropical areas, you have to place the enclosure in an area that can have strict temperature control. The temperature should be keep in the 70's.
    Never use a padlock on the door of the cage.



batworld said...

ry to imagine what this feels like...

Someone takes you captive, you don't know why. You don't speak their language and you are powerless to escape. You have no idea what they want of you, and you are terrified. Your captor locks you into a bathroom. This bathroom has a window covered with a shade, but you are not allowed to open it, look outside or get fresh air. There is a sink, but only your captor knows how to turn the water on. There is a toilet where you can eliminate, but only your captor decides when it should be flushed. You get the same thing to eat day after day after day after day. When you don't feel good no one knows how to help, so you suffer in pain. There are no pictures on the walls, no TV, no companion, absolutely nothing whatsoever to help you pass the endless days and nights. You are completely alone, and this is where you will spend every single day for the rest of your natural life.

his is what a wild animal feels when we take it in to captivity. It have lost all control of its world. As captors, we control everything about that animals' daily life. What it eats, when it gets fresh water, when its cage is cleaned of feces, whether or not it gets fresh air, has companions, and whether or not it has any enrichment to brighten its caged life.

You can see why it is not a good idea to own wild animals. It might make you feel cool, but people who know better (and most of them do) feel that it is a horrible cruelty for the animal and they cringe when they see other people keeping wild animals as pets.

Bats are beautiful and something we all love, but the act of keeping one as a pet will cause it to experience great terror, inappropriate and damaging nutrition, loss of it's right to enjoy reproduction and rearing if it's young, and terrible loneliness and boredom. Wild bats are capable of living over 25 years. Bats kept as pets rarely survive more than one year.

If you want to do right by the bat, please see the following care sheet:

dylanclub said...

strange tone... but I think you're agreeing with me. after all, I did link to your website as a resource. And I explained that it's illegal to keep a wild bat in my first paragraph. So yes, to repeat what's been repeated, nobody should keep a bat captive unless you go through legitimate source.
(or maybe you just don't like the word "pet")

LittleMouse said...

Where would I find an exotic pet dealer that would sell a domestic bat? Also what types of bats are available for sale? I have always loved bats and would love one that I can cuddle and care for. I have done the bat house in the back yard and the like but would like more and never thought it was possible. My husband told me that when we buy a house, provided I become an expert in bats, I can get one if it is legal. I have 5-10 years to become an expert so I would like to know how to go about getting one. Also are there any good books you would recommend. Thanks

DJ said...

More and more people should consider caring for a bat aviary because of the rapid loss of our bats in this country do to white noise syndrome and possibly the fungus associated with it.The disease kills and with unknown reasons.White noise is killing over a million bats a year.11,000 just in New York alone last year.Don't scoff at the idea of pet bats.It just might be necessary soon,for their survival.

dtruex said...

Except "pet" bats would also be at risk of white nose syndrome...not the correct way of approaching bat conservation.

MacGyvr said...


MacGyvr said...


Activist by Nature said...

It's common knowledge that bats can't survive as pets, they die within a year, mainly because of poor caging like this as well as loneliness, improper diet, etc. Don't waste your time and money, rescue a real pet from a shelter instead.

mathew clarke said...

I would suggest that if you are keeping a bat as a pet you have gone about it wrong from the start, fruit bats are social animals and at the very very least should be housed in a pair or preferably a group. In the UK it would be illegal to keep one on its own. Suggesting that you should build a 6 foot sqaure enclosure is also very advise as this is considered the absolute bare minimum size for a pair of small fruit bats (such as egyptians)and bigger housing such as a large heated room is far better than a six foot box, I am not saying that you cannot keep them in a cage like yours but you are giving people the impression that this is what they should build if they want to keep bats and not that this is the absolute minimum, please if you are going to post information online for people who may be considering keeping these amazing creatures (I know I have kept them myself) could you please first learn how to care for your own. Please either give your bat to someone with a group or at least consider getting it a companion.