Basic bat care
Any bat that is found on the ground, or in an exposed area, especially during the day, is likely to need help.
How can I help?
If the bat is on the ground, on an outside wall, or in an exposed area where it may be vulnerable, it should be contained in a box (see the instructions below).
You should avoid handling the bat, but if it is necessary WEAR GLOVES due to the small risk of a type of rabies.
You should call the Bat Helpline 0345 1300 228 for further advice. We currently have details for over 400 volunteers who specialise in bat rehabilitation operating throughout the UK, and may be able to refer you to someone local to you for further advice. Together these contacts form the BCT UK Bat Care Network.
Thanks to our hard working Out of Hours Helpline volunteers, the Helpline is also open evenings, weekends and bankholidays between May and September each year when bats are most active.
Call 0345 1300 228 and follow the instructions. If the line is busy please leave a message and if you have not been called back within one hour please try the Helpline again.
If you find a bat at a time when the Helpline is closed, please refer to the advice at the bottom of this page.
Containing a bat
You will need:
- A shoe box, with holes punched in the lid (or container of equivalent size)
- A cloth or teatowel
- A plastic bottle cap (milk bottle tops are perfect)
How to contain the bat:
1. Contain the bat:
a) Like a spider, by placing a box on top of it and sliding a piece of card underneath.
b) Alternatively, cover the bat with a cloth/teatowel and carefully scoop it up and place it in the box. (You should not handle the bat with bare hands.)
2. Put a tea towel or soft cloth in the box for the bat to hide in.
3. Put in a small, shallow container e.g. a plastic milk bottle top with a few drops of water (not enough for the bat to drown in). Make sure the water is topped up regularly.
4. Keep the bat indoors somewhere quiet and dark
5. Most importantly, call the Bat Helpline on 0345 1300 228 for further advice.
Only a bat that has been confirmed as fit and healthy by a bat rehabilitator should be released, and never during the day.
Please don't assume the bat is healthy and leave it outside to fly away.
During the summer months, it is also possible to sometimes find a baby bat that has either been orphaned or lost its way from a roost. If you find a baby bat this should be treated as urgent in terms of seeking advice as a baby is extremely vulnerable and will need special care. If you're not sure if you've found baby bat, please check our baby bat guide.
If you wish to donate to help us maintain the Bat Helpline please click on the image:
When the Helpline is closed
Between May and September you should be able to speak to someone on the Helpline until 10.30pm, including at weekends and on bank holidays. Call 0345 1300 228 and follow the instructions. If the line is busy please leave a message and if you have not been called back within one hour please try the Helpline again. This Out of Hours service is manned by volunteers who receive full training and take calls from home. Please note that it may only be one or two volunteers on shift and during the summer months it can become extremely busy. Please be patient if you do need assistance.
In emergencies, however, some local bat group helplines may be able to assist if you are located in their county (see below). Please remember that these contacts are also volunteers, and if you cannot get through straight away please leave them a message.
If no Helpline is listed, other options are your local vet, or the RSPCA National Helpline 0300 1234 999.
AVON: 07921 553 784
CORNWALL: 01872 278 695 (http://www.cornwall-batgroup.co.uk/)
SOUTH DEVON: 01803 782 218
GWYNEDD AND ANGLESEY: 01766 762 437 (http://www.gwyneddbats.org.uk/)
HERTFORDSHIRE AND MIDDLESEX: please visit http://hmbg.org.uk/ or in emergencies only call 07570 407 358
EAST LANCASHIRE: 07761 850 052
NORTH LANCASHIRE AND SOUTH CUMBRIA: 01524 701 316
SOUTH LANCASHIRE AND MANCHESTER: 01617 648 850 (http://www.slbg.org.uk/)
SURREY BAT RESCUE: 07910 108 525
LEICESTERSHIRE: 01572 755 274
LINCOLNSHIRE: 01775 766 286 (http://www.lincsbatgroup.co.uk/)
SOUTH YORKSHIRE: 07717 290 538 / 07796 572 915(https://sites.google.com/site/southyorkshirebathelpline/)
No number for your area? If you are unable to reach a carer we would recommend taking the bat to a local vet or wildlife hospital, or contacting the RSPCA National Helpline 0300 1234 999. Be sure to give them your contact details and address, and the phone number for our Helpline.