What to do if you encounter a grounded bat.
The first thing to do if you find a grounded bat should be to call the
BCT BAT HELPLINE 0345 1300 228
There will be someone on the line who can help and offer advice on what is best for the bat and can locate bat rehabilitator in your area.
Bats are protected by law and it is illegal to keep or handle a healthy bat. However, if you find a bat on the ground you can care for the bat in whatever is most humane and practical way, but before attempting to assist the bat it is important to wear some thick gloves.
Should you think that you may have already been bitten or scratched by the bat:-
Wash the bite or scratch site immediately with soap and water for at least 5 minutes
Seek medical advice from you GP
If the Bat is still there, contain the bat and call the BCT BAT HELPLINE 0345 1300 228
Bats are not aggressive animals however for the bat to be grounded something must be wrong and the bat will more than likely be very frightened or in pain and any animal in that situation can be unpredictable and could bite. The reason for caution is that in Europe some bats carry a rabies virus called, European Bat Lyssavirus (EBLV). EBLV is not the rabies associated with dogs that most of us know about. The EBLV strain of rabies is very rare in the UK’s bats and most of our native species have teeth too tiny to break our skin, however it does mean that, as with any wild animal, it is best to take precautions.
To contain the Bat, in order to assist it, the best thing to do is to put some thick gloves on and find a container and a piece of cardboard.
The best container to temporarily contain the bat in would be the size of a shoe box.
There must be holes in the container or some form of ventilation, remember when doing this that bats can squeeze in tiny spaces so if making holes in a shoe box or ice-cream tub lots of small holes are best!
Take the container and place it over the bat as it is still on the ground, then take the cardboard and gently slide this between the container and the ground. Then lift the bat in the box up and slide the container lid over, replacing the cardboard (do this slowly incase the bat is trying to hold on to the cardboard).
In some cases, for example if the above method would cause injury to the bat, it is possible to pick up the bat very gently and put it in the box by hand wearing thick gloves. Try to do this at ground level if you can because bats can be speedy and would not think it silly to jump off your gloved hand onto the floor!
Once the bat is in the container, there are some things you can do to help the bat be more comfortable until help arrives:-
- A milk bottle lid or similar can be used to give the bat a little drink of water, only put a small amount of water in and make sure the container is shallow.
- Put a piece of scrunched up material in the box away from the water, the bat can crawl and hide in this and it will make it less stressful for the bat.
There are many reasons why a bat can end up grounded and there are also many different ways to deal with the different problems, a bat rehabilitator will be able to assess this and work out what is best to do for the bat.
BCT BAT HELPLINE 0345 1300 228