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.
Examining a casualty
Note the weight and find out which
species of bat it is.
Gently extend the wing membranes and check for broken bones and tears
or holes in the wings.
Is the bat inert and cold?
Place in a secure container on a heat source covered by a thick
towel, to warm up gradually.
Put a small lid with a very wet piece of crushed up kitchen roll
in the container, to provide humidity.
Check every 10 minutes and when warm and becoming more lively, give
rehydration fluid on a tiny artist's paintbrush , micropipette
or even a cotton wool bud. Touch it to the mouth and the bat
should eagerly lick up the fluid.
If not keen to drink, leave to warm up for a little longer and try
Range of weights per species
Young 1-2g Adult 3.5g - 8.5g
Young 1-2g Adult 5g - 12g
Adult 5g - 12g
Adult 18g - 40g
Adult 18g - 35g
Adult 5g -12g
Bats are very adept at escaping through
small gaps so a secure
container is essential.
They also need a rough surface to hang from, warmth and humidity.
Small pieces of towel taped inside a plastic tank with a well fitting,
ventilated lid make a secure container and
a heat pad underneath will provide extra warmth.
Line the base with folded newspaper and provide a low, heavy container
full of very wet, crumpled kitchen paper.
This will provide drinking water for the bat and humidity for the
These need constant warmth and
Small pieces of towel taped inside a small plastic amphibian tank with
fitting, ventilated lid make a secure container
but to keep them at a steady 32°C it needs to be placed on an
electric heat pad or in an incubator.
Check the temperature and adjust if necessary. If the heat pad is too
hot, move the tank so part of it is off the pad and
adjust the position until the temperature stays steady. Put a book or
wedge under the tank to keep it level and steady.
Feeding and care of young bats
Feel the backbone - if they feel like
soft sausages then they are OK
and will manage with
4 meals a day.
If the back feels thin, tapering away and falling away from the
backbone give as many small feeds as possible until they fill out.
** Keep the
incubator heated to
32 ° C
**This is very important.
batlets are not warm enough they will not digest the milk, become
bloated and die.
If under about a week old they will need toileting after every meal.
Do this by slightly moistening a small twist of pure cotton wool and
VERY GENTLY stroking the genital area with a downward movement.
You should barely touch the surface. The idea is to gently tickle the
area to stimulate the batlet to urinate and defecate.
The batlet should produce some urine after most feeds, and faeces after
about 1 in 3 feeds.
There will only be a few tiny drops of urine and a tiny dry stick-like
Warm Esbilac formula or full fat goats milk, fed hourly from 6am to
A very tiny artist’s paintbrush size 0 is ideal, as it leaves the
batlet in control of how much milk it takes.
Failing this, use a tiny strip of
lint-free fine cotton cloth, making sure that there are no loose fibres
to choke the baby.
Quantities are difficult to estimate as a batlet will take only a
fraction of a ml per feed, so only warm up half a teaspoon of milk at a
Once they have been hand fed for a day or two, put a few drops of milk
in a very tiny, shallow dish with a small lip.
The lid from a film container or plastic milk bottle is very suitable.
Do not put very much milk in at first as it could be inhaled if too
Place in the incubator so the batlet(s) can help themselves.
Change milk every 2 hours between about 8am and 10pm while continuing
the hand feeding.
Eventually the batlets will prefer to feed themselves, and amounts left
in the incubator can be increased.
The batlets can get very sticky so need their faces washing daily and
Hold by the shoulders and gently lower into a small container of warm
They will spread their wings and the fur only needs a quick rinse with
a finger to get clean.
Remove from water, wrap in a soft facial tissue or two to dry, then
replace in warm incubator.
Once they are self feeding regularly they get the hang of it and need
less washing. Also the number of feeds can be gradually reduced.
Age 3 Weeks
Give the juice of chopped mealworms as
well as milk.
Put a few bits of chopped mealworms and/or waxmoth larvae in a shallow
lid in the incubator
so they can help themselves.