(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.
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
Slide bolt hardware
(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)
(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)
(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)
(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.