In the first instance please call the BCT:
West Yorkshire Bat Care operates alongside the Bat Conservation Trust and have a team of dedicated individuals who are able to offer you advice and guidance on what to do next if you have found a bat either indoors or outdoors. If the bat is injured or grounded we have ambulance drivers and carers who can care for the bat and return it to health.
While you wait for help
Although bats are protected by law you are able to handle the bat a little in order to assist it. There is a small risk of rabies from bat bites and scratches but you can protect yourself using a containment procedure and wearing gloves.
Does it need help?
Bats require you to help them if:
- It is on the ground or floor (grounded)
- Exposed during the day (e.g on an external wall)
- It is in a living area within a dwelling or public area of another building
- If it has been into contact with a cat
- It is a pup without its mother
- It is stuck to something (e.g. fishing line, fly paper, barbed wire)
- If its roosting place is disturbed (e.g. taking a sign from all, disturbing wood in a woodpile)
- If it is injured – you may see visible injuries
If the bat is in an outbuilding or loft, basement or wedged into a crevice it may simply be roosting there. Contact the BCT helpline for advice.
If you need to contain the injured or grounded bat (BCT site)
If you can safely reach the bat and you need to contain it, you will need a bat care box.
- A shoe box (or similar container) with small holes in the lid (very small holes)
- A cloth or tea towel
- A bottle cap (milk bottle or oasis bottle caps are ideal)
You may be able to get the bat into the box without touching it, as described below. But if you do need to touch it, please WEAR GLOVES due to the small risk of rabies transmission. You’re very unlikely to be bitten or scratched if you follow our procedure, but if it does happen, please seek immediate medical advice.
- If possible, contain the bat as you would a spider, by placing the box on top of it and sliding a piece of card underneath. If that’s not possible, cover the bat with a soft cloth, such as a tea towel, and carefully scoop it up and place it in your bat care box. (It’s especially important to wear gloves if you use the second method.)
- Put a tea towel or soft cloth in the box for the bat to hide under.
- Put in a small, shallow container (such as a plastic milk bottle top or furniture caster) with a few drops of water (not enough for the bat to drown in). Make sure the water is topped up regularly.
- Keep the bat indoors somewhere quiet and dark while you call the National Bat Helpline (if you haven’t done so already). Please keep pets and children away from the box.
This is only intended as a guide to help a bat while you wait for help from one of volunteers. The information here has been taken from the Bat Conservation Trust website which contains more detailed information. Please click HERE to be taken to the BCT website. If the bat requires a vet because it is injured or you can not get it to a carer please visit this page to view local vets you can take it to.
Bats can come to harm or become injured in any manner of ways from disturbance during hibernation to being involved in collisions with cars or attacked by cats. Often they have simply not eaten enough to last the long winter ahead and need a helping hand to survive until the warmer weather reappears.
West Yorkshire Bat Group support and help a group of volunteers to care for bats in the area. Each bat carer has the ability to provide shelter for injured bats and nurse them back to health for eventual release.
West Yorkshire Bat Group also funds a bat hospital in Otley, caring for bats which require more intensive care and rehabilitation.
This work is extremely rewarding and interesting and the group are committed to providing training to individuals or groups wishing to help. If you would like to volunteer with our group visit our volunteer page.