Bats

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 again.
Range of weights per species
Pipistrelle
Young   1-2g      Adult 3.5g - 8.5g
Long Eared
Young   1-2g      Adult  5g - 12g
Daubenton's
Young                 Adult 5g - 12g
Lesser Horseshoe
Young
Noctule
Young                  Adult 18g - 40g
Serotine
Young                  Adult 18g - 35g
Natterer's
Young                  Adult 5g -12g
Greater Horseshoe
Young
Whiskered
Young


Initial treatment

HOUSING

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 container.

YOUNG BATS
These need constant warmth and humidity.
Small pieces of towel taped inside a small plastic amphibian tank with a well fitting, ventilated lid make a secure container
but to keep them at a steady 32C 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.     If 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 dropping.

FEEDING
Warm Esbilac formula or full fat goats milk, fed hourly from 6am to midnight.
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 time.
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 deep.
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.

Washing Batlets

The batlets can get very sticky so need their faces washing daily and occasional baths.
Hold by the shoulders and gently lower into a small container of warm water (32)
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.

WEANING  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.