Monday, February 23, 2015

Rescuing a bat in winter

The weather has been pretty grim for the past few weeks with many heavy storms, strong winds and cold. Not the best of weather for creatures great or small. On my way to the workshop yesterday morning I spotted something out of the corner of my eye that made an impression in my mind as I carried on and began rummaging through the chest freezer. You know the sort of feeling that you need to take a closer look... On my way out Gawber the cat, who was two steps in front of me, stopped and sniffed at this little dark lump on the ground. I looked closer and saw a tiny bat. My first thought was that it was dead, probably caught out by a heavy storm or even worse, clawed by one of our cats as it swooped down looking for insects. Its tiny wing moved. It was sodden and covered in cobwebs.


I gently put the bat in a small cardboard box with some dried leaves and kitchen roll and, placed it in the boiler room where there is always a warm ambient temperature. After removing the cobwebs with tweezers, the next job was to research what to do? I trawled the Internet and found that most sites recommend making the bat safe, handle only with gloves due to disease and then call a bat charity, volunteer, vet or animal rescue centre. This is rural Spain... I was on my own. I had read that bats found in such circumstances could be exhausted or dehydrated and to try feeding it water and jelly from cat food from a paint brush. I tried several times but the little creature just licked the moisture of its furry face and then kept turning its head away when offered more. The bat had dried out and was much more alert and active.


 I contacted a couple of people who were volunteers for UK based bat charities who suggested that once it had dried out to put it up high in the evening and it could possibly fly. I did, on the balcony, it didn't.

The bat box on the balcony

Following further investigation and advice via contacts on social media, we concluded that the bat was probably still in a hibernation period and it could have been blown from its roost. We were also advised to examine it closer for tears in the wings as antibiotics would be required if that was the case. Fortunately, the wings seemed intact. We have made further attempts to hydrate it with honey and water and will put a small amount of cat food/jelly for it to eat if it wants. It is now housed back in the boiler room in a plant propagator filled with a piece of cloth, a twig or two, some dried leaves and honey water. If it is hibernating, it could be a few more weeks before it is ready to fly and as they can live on very small amount of fat reserves, I am not too worried. We will keep you updated on his progress and carry on with our research and investigation as to what the next steps should be.

Alert and ready to bite


If there is anyone out there who has experience of this sort of thing and can advise us what to do, please get in touch.

BAT UPDATE CLICK HERE


ANIMALTALES

Joining in #AnimalTales with Rosie at:

22 comments:

  1. It's adorable, I do hope it makes it OK.

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    1. It is Anne - surviving so far so fingers crossed.

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  2. I hope the little guy survives, your pictures are fascinating :)

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    1. Thanks Catherine - such a tiny little thing.

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  3. I hope he decides to stick around. A bat is a wonderful ally against mosquitos and other nuisances.
    Cheers,
    Lucía

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    1. We have many bats around Lucia but never been so close before.

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  4. Oh wow, hope the bat makes it and just glad it wasn't eaten or trodden on! #animaltales.

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    1. I nearly left it on the ground as it was so insignificant but gut instinct kicked in that made me take a closer look.

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  5. Great rescue job! We've rescued a magpie before but never a bat so I'm not much help. Good luck with that.

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    1. hubby thinks it would like moths that's our collective 2 cents worth.

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    2. Thanks - so far we've given honey water and meat jelly - tonight I will look for small moths. Thanks

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  6. Hi there, found you through Rosie's linky. You're a better person than I am. I probably would have first screamed and ran away and then probably just put him outside to fly away, not really knowing what to do. I hope he makes a full recovery!

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    1. Lots of people are wary of bats and looking at its teeth, I can see why!

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  7. Bats are excellent to have around. Good for you for trying to help him out.

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    1. Thanks Coco, so far so good.

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  8. Bats are so misunderstood so it;s fantastic to read how you rescued it and are helping it to survive. Wish I knew some advice to give but instead found it fascinating reading what steps you've been taking so far, #animaltales

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    1. Thanks Kriss - leaving it to hibernate until the better weather seems to be the way forward.

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  9. Although I know a few nature people in your area I don't know any tame murciélago enthusiasts who could help you. Have a look at the uk bat website and maybe try their helpline in the morning.
    http://www.bats.org.uk/
    One things for sure though, you need to get it somewhere cool and dark where it can continue to hibernate. If it emerges too soon it risks starvation as there aren't enough flying insects around yet.
    Another thought is Ecologistas en Accion who might point you to a local contact.

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    1. Thanks Faunus - this is what we have concluded - leave it cool, protected and dark until the better weather. We contact a couple of local organisations but they really weren't interested. It's only a bat!

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  10. How is the bat doing now, Ian? I agree that it is probably in partial hibernation an dif you can get it through the next few weeks it should fly off happily when the weather improves.One of our cats is a demon bat swiper and we have found 2 dead bats with tiny holes in their wings, thanks to her claws. It has, however, given us the chance to show the boys close up these wonderful creatures. Bon courage. Oh and do you know what species it is?
    Many thanks for joining in with #AnimalTales - you are our first bat story!

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    1. I think it's a pippistrel Rosie but they are hard to identify. OUr cats are devils with Dragonflys - not seen them with bats but they could have - so far so good, cooling it off now and have built a bat box. I'll no doubt do an update.

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  11. How fabulous! Bats are great, but extremely unsettling, and that's without a good look at the teeth. I do hope it makes it, and it all sounds very hopeful.

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