Getting the bat into care
After containing the bat, please call the National Bat Helpline on 0345 1300 228 for further advice. Find our opening hours by clicking here.
Please note that you should ensure the bat is contained in a box before you call. If you have issues with containing the bat, please go back to the previous page and read through the FAQs.
While we don't operate a bat rescue service, we do have details for independent volunteers around the UK who look after bats in their spare time. In a typical year, over 60% of the bat finders who call us receive help from one of these volunteers. Please have a pen and paper (or your phone!) ready to take down volunteer numbers when you call.
If there aren't any volunteers in your area, or if they aren't available, we will advise you to take the bat to a vet.
What if the Helpline's closed?
If you find a bat outside the Helpline's opening hours, please try these two options:
1. Check for a regional helpline in your area
In emergencies some local bat group helplines may be able to assist if you are located in their county (see below). Please do not call numbers outside your area, as they will not be able to assist, even if there are no contacts more local. Please also ensure the bat is properly contained before phoning a helpline.
Please remember that most of these contacts are volunteers. If you cannot get through straight away please leave them a message. If you do not hear back from them within a few hours, or if they are unable to help, please take the bat to a local vet (see below).
- North Lancashire (also covering South Cumbria): 01524 701 316. Will answer at any reasonable time. If not answered or calling very late/early, please leave a voicemail and you will be called back.
- South Lancashire Helpline (including Greater Manchester): 01617 648 850
- Warwickshire Bat Rescue: 07754 952 339. This number is for help with injured or grounded bats ONLY. It cannot help with roost issues or planning-related enquiries.
- Derbyshire Bat Group: 07594 288 920
- Leicestershire and Rutland Helpline: 01572 755 274
- Lincolnshire Bat Helpline: 01775 766 286
- Lincolnshire Bat Rescue: 07713 760 211 (also on Whatsapp) / 07791 803 189 / 01754 880 070 (try all three numbers if necessary and leave message on landline)
East of England:
- Cambridgeshire Bat Group: Please go to their website and phone the number for your area.
- Essex Bat Group: Visit their website or phone 07891 249 038 (8am-midnight).
- Hertfordshire & Middlesex Helpline: 07517 123 200
- Hampshire Bat Care: 07760 504 257
- Sussex Bat Group: Please refer to website.
- Bristol Bat Rescue: 07754 699 836
- Devon Helpline: 01803 214 665
- Wiltshire Bat Care: 07706 842 128
- Gower Bird Hospital: 01792 371 630
- Please contact Northern Ireland Bat Group via their online form
2. Take the bat to your nearest vet
If there isn't a regional helpline in your area, or if you don't hear back from them, please take the bat to your nearest vet. Please make sure vet staff take a note of the address where the bat was found, and tell them that they can phone us for advice and support; if our phone lines are shut, they can search online for our Bat Care Guidelines.
If vet staff tell you they cannot take a bat, please ask them for details of another vet that can accept it instead. Please also encourage them to phone us, as we may be able to address their concerns.
All vets are required to have 24-hour emergency cover (although this may be provided by a different company or at a different location). If your local vet surgery is shut, please check their website, answerphone message or door sign for details.
Releasing the bat
If you have been advised to do so by our helpline, it may be suitable to release the bat. The bat may be considered for release if it appears healthy, hasn’t been involved in a cat attack and the weather conditions are appropriate.
Keep the bat contained for the day as described above and then release it that evening. When it is dark outside place the box on its side on top of a wall or shed, at least five feet off the ground. Using gloves bring the cloth out of the box to allow the bat to fly away when it is ready. Watch the bat closely for about fifteen minutes. If the bat does not fly away within this time, take it back inside and get expert help from the National Bat Helpline.
If you're outside the UK
Unfortunately, we're only able to assist with grounded and injured bats in the UK. If you're in another country, please visit this page for a list of international contacts.
The Bat Conservation Trust receives no public funding for the National Bat Helpline’s bat care work. We rely entirely on donations to keep helping people who have found bats. If you can, please donate via our bat care JustGiving page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about other ways to give.