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How to get involved with Bat Rehabilitation

Bats found grounded or exposed need urgent help.  They may be orphaned, exhausted or injured. At the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) we have a list of bat carers, wildlife hospitals and bat ambulance drivers throughout the UK known as the UK Bat Care Network. This is a network of volunteers who can assist with injured or grounded bats that are found by the general public.

Bat care volunteering is done on a local basis, generally through bat groups. Carers don’t volunteer directly for The Bat Conservation Trust, but by choosing to be listed on the UK Bat Care Network, they can help ensure that people who find grounded or injured bats are referred on to them. The Network Co-Ordinator also puts people who are interested in bat care in touch with trainers in their local area.

What do volunteer bat care contacts do?

Why do bat care?

How do I get started?

What do volunteer bat care contacts do?

Bat rescue is a specialist area that requires experience and knowledge and should only be carried out by, or in conjunction with, an experienced carer/rehabilitator.  As a care contact you will need to be able to:

  • identify the species of bat - as this may affect the diagnosis.
  • assess the health status of the bat - bats are very small and injuries like puncture wounds from a cat, broken bones or low weight will not always be obvious.
  • make the right care choice for the individual bat - bats are protected and specific legislation exists in relation to their conservation and care. Anyone caring for a bat must be aware of this legislation and must follow the correct procedures to stay within the law.
  • understanding the need to make tough decisions - keeping bat welfare at the heart of every choice made to help alleviate suffering

Why do bat care?

Bat care contacts contribute the conservation or our vulnerable bat species in a number off ways:

  • Successful releases - Through the hard work and dedication of the UK’s bat carers many bats found grounded or injured by members of the public are successfully released back into the wild population.
  • Public education - Finding a grounded individual is often the first contact a member of the public will have with bats. It is a fantastic opportunity to educate the public about these amazing mammals and the need to conserve them.
  • Identification of roosting sites - A grounded bat found in a garden is likely to be roosting nearby. By talking to homeowners and re-releasing bats where they were found, we can identify and protect new roosting sites.
  • In addition, anyone training to be a roost visitor or a bat carer needs experience in identifying and handling live bats. Long-term captives and bat care in general provide a chance for trainees to get some valuable hands on experience.

How do I get started?

  1. Join your local Bat Group. This is an invaluable way to make contacts and gain experience. You may be able to find a trainer this way, but if not, we can help you (see below).
  2. Download the registration pack and read through it carefully to see if being a Network member is right for you.
  3. Get vaccinated against rabies. All the paperwork you need is in the registration pack.
  4. Return your application form and proof of vaccination to the Network Co-Ordinator (full instructions are in the pack).
  5. Train with an established Network member. If you don't have a trainer already, then upon receiving your registration documents, we will provide you with the details of local Network members who may be able to train you. 
  6. Get your trainer to send the Network Co-Ordinator a reference once they are satisfied that you have the knowledge and skills to look after bats. The Bat Helpline will then make you live on the Network and pass your number to callers who find injured bats in your area.

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss becoming a bat carer, please contact Laura Brown on 0345 1300 228 or email enquiries@bats.org.uk

For a take home resource, please also read through our Bat Rehabilitation - How to get involved leaflet.

Find out more


Bat Rehabilitation - How to get involved (471 KB) - 26/10/16
Guidance on how to get involved with bat rehabilitation and the support available


 

 

We are looking for funding to train more volunteers in bat care. Please help and donate below or call 020 820 7168.

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Bat Helpline

0345 1300 228