Ocular diseases are common in pets and other domestic mammals, as well as in wild mammals, but there are few reports for bats. A review of multiple mortality events in bats and examination of bat carcasses from several species revealed that principal causes of death were traumas, bacterial infections, and attacks by domestic cats. Relatively little is known concerning ocular lesions or diseases in bats with only two papers reporting ocular anomalies. We describe ocular lesions or diseases detected in bats of Jalisco and Oaxaca, Mexico. From January 2008 through March 2017, we captured 8,718 bats, nine of these had ocular lesions or diseases. These nine were collected in five localities. Bats were captured with mist nets; six with ocular anomalies were released after recording the basic biological information and three were preserved as museum specimens. Eyes of the affected bats were photographed in the field. Of nine bats with ocular lesions or diseases, two had corneal opacity, four had eye injuries or infections, one had microphthalmia or nanophthalmia, and two had anophthalmia. No other evidence of trauma, disease, or reduced fitness was noted. The bats with anomalies were from two families (Phyllostomidae and Molossidae) and six species (Desmodus rotundus, Glossophaga soricina, Artibeus jamaicensis, Artibeus lituratus, Sturnira parvidens, and Tadarida brasiliensis). The paucity of reports of ocular anomalies in bats suggests that those with ocular problems have low survival probability in natural settings. However, given the small size of the eye in many bat species, the rarity of such reports could be in part due to field researchers missing such anomalies even when they occur. Also, we suspect that researchers at times encounter such anomalies but simply do not report their observations in the literature.
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Vol. 20 • No. 2