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Ultrasound on pregnant ghost bat at Sydney's Featherdale Wildlife Park


MALCOLM HOLLAND THE DAILY TELEGRAPH NOVEMBER 05, 2012

SHE has undergone a check which all expectant mums are given: an ultrasound scan to map the health of her precious baby.

The ultrasound machine, donated to Sydney's Featherdale Wildlife Park by the GE company and used on a pregnant ghost bat last week, is the same as those which scan humans.

"The only thing different is that we have a set of probes in a variety of sizes," senior park curator Chad Staples said yesterday.

"While human mums are all about the same size and shape, we have animals from the very small to the very big."

Mr Staples said the ultrasound machine, which reveals the insides of animals, is a huge help in providing care for its creatures.

"Like many animals, we don't know a lot about ghost bat pregnancies, so her scans will be kept in the ultrasound's data bank," he said.

"If the baby is healthy we'll know what a healthy ghost bat foetus looks like and use it when the next ghost bat is pregnant."

Mr Staples believes the use of the imaging equipment will be particularly important for the early detection of potentially life-threatening illnesses.

"Often once an animal begins to exhibit visible symptoms of sickness, the illness has already progressed beyond the point of successful treatment," he said.

Mr Staples said images of the ghost bat's one-month-old foetus - her baby will be born in about two months - was a reminder of how closely related bats and humans are.


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BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats: Ultrasound on pregnant ghost bat at Sydney's Featherdale Wildlife Park
Ultrasound on pregnant ghost bat at Sydney's Featherdale Wildlife Park
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