Anyone who plans to keep bats in captivity long term needs a licence from their local Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (SNCO). The definition of "long term" and the process for getting a licence vary between the countries of the UK. You will also need a licence to keep dead bats (e.g., for education purposes).
BCT's Guide to Licencing for Bat Carers explains everything you need to know about obtaining licences for both living and dead bats. It also discusses what you need to consider when deciding whether to keep a bat in long-term care.
The main pieces of legislation you need to be aware of are:
- Animal Welfare Act 2006 (England and Wales)
- Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006
- Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011
- Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (England, Wales and Scotland)
- Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011
The meaning of this legislation for bat carers is summarised in BCT's Bat Care Guidelines.
Bat Care Bulletin articles
The Bat Care Bulletin blog occasionally publishes relevant articles under the category Legal Considerations. All posts are initially password-protected and accessible to UK Bat Care Network members only, but most are eventually made public. If you’re not a UK Bat Care Network member and find these articles helpful, please support BCT’s bat care work by making a donation.
If you volunteer with a Network-registered regional helpline or wildlife hospital, please ask your co-ordinator for the blog password. If you’re a Network member under your own name but have lost your password, please contact the Bat Care Network Co-Ordinator on email@example.com.
National Bat Conference presentations
You may also be interested in the slides from a talk on bats and the law for carers that Lisa Worledge gave at the National Bat Care Conference in 2018.