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Chiroptera Neotropical 15(1), July 2009
Maintenance of the haematophagous bat Desmodus rotundus in captivity for experimental studies on rabies

Marilene F. de Almeida¹, Caroline C. Aires² Luzia F. A. Martorelli¹, Rodrigo F. de Barros¹ and Eduardo

1. Zoonosis Control Center of São Paulo Municipality. Rua Santa Eulália, 86 – Santana - São Paulo,
Brasil – CEP 02031-020.
2. Zoology Museum of São Paulo University - CP 42694- CEP 04299-970.
3. School of Medicine. The University of São Paulo LIM 01 – HC/FMUSP, Av. Dr. Arnando, 455 –
Departamento de Informática Médica - São Paulo, Brasil - CEP 01246-903 and Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases (Hon. Prof.), London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK.
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2001; Favoretto et al. 2002).
In 1932, Clark and Dunn maintained D. rotundus in captivity for the first time using defibrinated blood. Many studies have shown that these bats can be introduced successfully into the laboratory and maintained in numerous types of cages for prolonged periods in apparent good

Material and methods
The D. rotundus bats used in this study were collected in caves and in abandoned buildings from cities in the states of Minas Gerais and São
Paulo, southeastern Brazil, between July 2001


Chiroptera Neotropical 15(1), July 2009

and February 2004. A total of 195 specimens (80 males and 115 females) were collected.
The bats were transported in individual cotton bags measuring 25x30cm. They were weighed using a dynamometer of one Newton.
All personnel who handled bats wore individual protection equipment and had been immunized against rabies; moreover, their titre of rabies antibodies was monitored every six months, as recommended in the São Paulo State technical manual (2003). The ethics committee at São
Paulo University authorized all experimental procedures and the capture and captivity of bats was authorized by a Brazilian institution responsible for wild animal care (Instituto
Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente, IBAMA).
Bats were divided by sex and capture location into groups varying from 2 to 15 individuals. The groups were maintained in captivity for a period varying from four

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