Stevie the brown long eared bat
Bats have a bad reputation and have long been associated with Vampires and Halloween but the really scary thing about bats, in our opinion, is that all bats in Britain are endangered species. This means that they are protected by law, and it’s illegal to disturb a bat or its roost, except if you find an injured bat and need to bring it in for veterinary care.
Laura Carter, an Education Demonstrator at World Museum is a volunteer bat carer with the Bat Conservation Trust and here she tells us about some of her charges:
‘I have a Common Pipistrelle in my care at the moment that is just waiting to be released this week. He was found flying inside a lady’s house in Prescot on Saturday; he just got a bit lost and needed some feeding up and a rest.
All of the bats I’ve looked after have been referred to me from the Bat Conservation Trust helpline. A two week old pup (named Bertie by his finders) was particularly memorable as he was so tiny, and had to be fed puppy milk formula from a syringe every four hours until he was collected by the RSPCA. He had been found in the ladies loo in a shop called Hello Baby that does 4D baby scans. I tried to reunite him with his mum at the roost, but he was too big for her to pick up. RSPCA Stapeley Grange took him on to rear with other lost or injured baby bats and he was eventually released as part of a new colony.
Hungry Horace with a mouthful of mealworm
The worst cases of bat injuries are generally caused by cats as they can hear bats calling from inside their roosts and like to wait outside the entrance to catch bats by surprise, especially in summer when the babies are trying to fly for the first time. Cat owners can help to protect bats by bringing in their cat for the hour before and after sunset. Feeding the cat indoors during this time will help to keep the cat happier.
Discarded fishing line and flypaper also cause big problems for bats.
If anyone finds an injured bat or has issues with bats roosting in their home Bat Conservation Trust offer free advice and have a network of bat carers like me. The website is www.bats.org.uk and the helpline number is 0345 1300 228.
Our bat group also has a bat care page with some updates about some of our patients.’
World Museum is doing its bit for bat conservation by hosting an introductory bat care conference run by Merseyside and West Lancashire Bat Group for local vets and potential volunteer bat carers in December. This will greatly increase the number of people on Merseyside and the Wirral who are able to care for injured bats and raise awareness of some of the many threats they face.