BATS  - Common Problems and First Aid

Bats and the Law
Only licensed experts are allowed to move bat colonies or keep bats in captivity.  Wildlife carers are allowed to keep bats only
while providing treatment and with the aim of eventually returning them to the wild.

Emergency First Aid

Inert, cold
Rehydration is a priority.
The bat needs to be warmed up gradually before it will be able to drink or eat. 
A  small bat can be held in a warm hand but the best way is to find a small box with a well fitting lid,
Line it with a few layers of soft facial tissues or kitchen roll and put the bat inside.
Half fill a hot water bottle, wrap it in a small towel and put the box on top of it so the heat will gradually warm the bat.
Provide humidity in the box by soaking a facial tissue in drinking water, crumpling it up and putting it in a small plastic lid or or a tiny saucer made from baking foil.
This will add moisture to the air and provide a safe source of water if the bat recovers.
Never put an open container of water, even a tiny one, with  a sick bat. It may fall in and drown.

Weigh the bat if you have a suitably sensitive scale and make a note of it so you can check progress. Adult Pippistrelles only weigh 4-6 grams and babies 1-2 grams so the usual kitchen scales won't be any good.

Rehydration

If possible, crush tablets of homoeopathic Aconite and Arnica together and dissolve in a few drops of water.
Make a small quantity of Critical Care,  Lectade or other Rehydration fluid and add the dissolved tablets solution.
Warm over a small pot of hot water and dab on the bat's lips with a very small artists' paintbrush or piece of lint-free cotton material.

Cat Victim - it will need antibiotics urgently.  While you organise a trip to the vet, do the following:
Check the body temperature and provide a warm, secure, ventilated box on a heat source to let the bat warm up and recover.
If possible, crush tablets of homoeopathic Aconite and Ledum together and dissolve in a few drops of water.
Make a small quantity of Critical Care,  Lectade or other rehydration fluid and add the dissolved tablets.
Warm over a small pot of hot water and dab on the bat's lips with a very small artists' paintbrush or cotton wool bud.

Temporary housing for transporting a bat or providing recovery time

In an emergency,  a bat can be transported in a small cloth bag such as those used for coins by banks
Make sure the bat is at the bottom and close the neck of the bag with a bulldog clip or elastic band
For your nearest Rescue Centre go to:   Rescue Centres
Rehydration and Feeding information can be found in: Feeding bats

FOUND ON THE GROUND
Pick up gently, using a handkerchief or thin gloves to avoid direct contact.
Feel the body gently, is it cold? Is it breathing? Can you see the belly rising and falling?
Warm up in your hand until you can put in a secure container and take to a wildlife centre or the nearest Bat Hospital

CAUGHT BY A CAT

Pick up gently, using a handkerchief if necessary.
Feel the body gently, is it cold? Is it breathing? Can you feel a heartbeat against your hand?
It will need antibiotics as soon as possible.
Warm up in your hand, place in a secure container and take to a wildlife centre or the nearest Bat Hospital for treatment.

INSIDE A HOUSE - hanging on curtains
If  found in warm weather, it may have flown in very recently through an open window.
Close the door and open the windows wide just before dusk and see if it becomes active and flies away.
If not, gently detach from the curtains and check for signs of life.
Place in a secure container and take to a rescue centre for examination.

INSIDE A HOUSE - Flying about at night
Open the windows wide and keep still, it will find its way outside.
Turn the overhead light off in case it attracts moths; they will distract the bat from leaving.

INSIDE A HOUSE - Flying about in daylight
It may have flown in the night before and been trapped. 
Let it settle somewhere and either leave it alone until almost dusk, then open the windows wide so it can go; or let it settle,
then pick it up gently in a thin, soft cloth,  take outside and hang up as high as you can reach on a sheltered piece of rough wall or an ivy covered tree in the garden.

HANGING FROM A TREE
It will probably have become caught by a discarded fishing hook and line.
Use a long handled net to support the body from below while someone cuts the line and removes it from the tree.
Take to a rescue centre or Bat Hospital for examination.

BEHIND TILES / FASCIA BOARD
Can they be left where they are or has the roost been damaged or disrupted?

Contact your nearest Bat Group for advice.
If the bats are all adults, it may be possible for an expert to move them a few yards away to a suitable tree or sheltered part of the roof and
let them find another roost after dark.  A Maternity roost can't be disturbed until all the youngsters have flown off with the mothers to the winter roost.
If there are large ivy covered trees nearby they would provide a temporary roost for some species.
Can you fix a Bat Box  (or two) to a tree, at the same height and facing in the same direction as the part of the house where they were found?
They might accept a substitute home when they return.  Just think of all the benefits of a bat roost - they eat thousands of mosquitos a night!

Further information can be found at:  Bat Contacts