There are 17 species of bat in the UK, making up around a quarter of all mammal species resident here and this region has recorded 9 of those. All UK bats feed on insects and many have adapted features to help them catch dinner including the Daubentons bat pictured which uses its large feet and tail membrane to scoop insects from slow moving water sources.
Baby and Adult Bats often find themselves in trouble particularly during the summer months with most bat care cases occurring between June and August around the time the babies are born and begin to make their way in the world. Below is an indication of the life stages of bats as drawn by one of the UK’s leading Bat Carers – Maggie Brown.
If you find a grounded bat it should be contained as soon as possible by gently lifting with a gloved hand or dropping a tea towel or soft cloth over the bat for it to cling onto and transferring into a secure box with air holes (bats are master escape artists and can get through an 8mm gap) and a small dish (plastic lid from a milk carton is ideal) with one or two drops of water in it. Once the bat is contained there are a number of places you can try for advice.
The Bat Conservation Trust runs a National Bat Helpline (0345 1300 228) during the summer months. The helpline staff provide advice to members of the public, who find injured or grounded bats and put them in touch with local bat carers who assess and rehabilitate the bats where needed. The SOSWH and SSPCA can also provide advice and the Dumfries and Galloway Bat Group have a Facebook page @dandgbatgroup and website www.dumfriesbatgroup.org.uk with contact details as well.
Bats have suffered some serious population declines in recent years and as a result bats and their roosts are protected by law. Further information on what to do if you have a roost or if you suspect someone may be intentionally or unintentionally damaging a bat roost can be obtained from Scottish Natural Heritage on the link below