Watch out! There’s bats about...

We often get calls about bats that are in need of our help. These small mammals have lots of mystery surrounding them and therefore the calls are often from people in a state of panic.

We often get calls about bats that are in need of our help. These small mammals have lots of mystery surrounding them and therefore the calls are often from people in a state of panic.

Once we tell them that they won’t fly up and cling to their hair or suck their lovely Irish blood than they usually calm down enough to get some sense from them and find out information on the bat that they have just found.

The most common causes of bats needing to be rescued would be from been caught by cats or getting trapped in houses. Another common cause would be when there has been a few days of severe bad weather. They can get caught out in the wind and rain and get grounded. This is exactly what happened one of our newest bat patients.

A gentleman in County Laois had been putting out his bin early one morning and just be pure chance spotted the little bat clinging to the side of the wall. He knew that the bat should not have been out in the daylight and be so exposed as he was.

He went inside and rang for advice before touching the bat. We advised him to wear some gloves and place the bat in a box with a towel. He was also advised to bring the bat inside and leave in a warm dark place so the bat would dry off and its body temperature would start to regulate.

The man unfortunately didn’t drive so could not bring the bat to the shelter, so we arranged for a volunteer to collect the patient within the hour. Once at the shelter we examined the bat thoroughly, checking the wings for tears, as the membrane can easily be torn. There were no wounds on his tiny body and he was in good condition.

The patient, a brown long eared bat, is one of nine resident bat species in Ireland. The huge ears of this species are unmistakable and are almost as long as its body.

They prefer to forage in woodland, flying amongst the foliage, picking moths and other insects off leaves as they fly. This species of bat roost in buildings such as houses with large attic spaces, churches, outbuildings and in tree holes. This time of year, as temperatures start to drop and insect numbers decline, bats move into hibernation roosts (hibernacula) and from late October/November they will begin to hibernate.

Luckily for our newest patient, after a couple of days of lovely food and rest, he was ready to be returned back to where he was found. That evening he was released and took to the sky with ease and off into the darkness he went.

- Kildare Animal Foundation