Updated: Jan 6
As spooky season approaches and the pumpkin spiced lattes and creepy home décor starts appearing in shops, its also around this time that many oddity shops start rolling out more "Halloween" themed items - not that everything we make cant be classed as it!
Sadly around this time some items that appear online aren't as ethical as they might state!
Yep were talking bats! a lot of people don't realise that UK species of bats are protected and cant be kept (alive or dead) without a license. So if you're from the UK and find one that's sadly passed away you cant keep it for your curio collection!
Bats that are regularly advertised for sale either papered, in frames or domes and even as resin paperweights sadly have a cruel backstory that is normally whitewashed by shops. They are frequently sold as ethical oddities but the reality is... they aren't! Most taxidermy collectors are huge animal lovers so to find out something you've purchased might not be as innocent as you thought can be quite upsetting but its through this whitewashing tactic that these cruel acts of unethical sourcing of specimens still happen - and why there's a growing trade for "tourist" souvenirs.
Most bats are imported from places like Indonesia where they are harvested on mass from the wild, not for any other use than being dried and sold to other countries for the oddity market. Bats are vitally important to Indonesian ecosystems and the farming community where produce is extremely difficult to produce without bats to pollinate them.
The phrase "ethically sourced" appears on many listings of dead bats for sale. Some sellers note that no animals were killed or poached but the reality is any bat that died naturally would be quickly destroyed by ants or other arthropods or even consumed by a scavenger in the wild, they would not be in perfect condition for display. And while some fruit growers kill some of the kinds of bats being sold in order to protect their crops they are killed by trapping them within nets and left to decompose until the net is full and drops. These bats would not be suitable for mummifying and using within the oddity market.
Those who say they got their bats from a "breeder" and have large quantities - (we aren't talking about those that can legally and ethically be obtained from places like zoos, but this in itself poses questions that any reputable seller would be able to provide evidence of its origin for) because there is no such thing as a bat farm, Bats are very difficult to breed in captivity and only birth one to two baby bats (pups) per female annually.
So the reality is... its extremely difficult to get an "ethical" bat for your collection! and is why we do not use them in our work as we want to promote real ethical taxidermy and the protection of all species.