Illustration by Lee GoodwinIf you find a bat in distress, be very gentle with it.

Although bats are protected by the law and you need a licence to handle bats, generally it is ok to assist a bat when it needs your help.

The tiny animal will probably be frightened and may try to bite you. Although they are small, with teeth to match, what they have are very sharp, so watch out!

If you feel you are able to check the bat for injuries, without causing it too much stress, then look for external wounds. They often sustain injuries such as torn wings and cuts.

Find a suitable box with a tight-fitting lid (an old ice cream tub is ideal). Puncture a few small air holes in the lid, so the bat has plenty of air, and place a couple of sheets of kitchen roll on the bottom. The bat may also appreciate if you could put some kitchen roll on the side too, as it may like to hang at the sides if it can.

If the bat is very small, and its fur is very short and doesn't lift when gently blown on, then it is likely to be a baby.

Offer the bat some water.  This is done best by offering it a tiny paint brush dipped in clean water. Ensure the brush is clean by dipping it in boiling water to sterilise it, and let it cool before trying.

You can also offer a small amount of cat or dog food - the jelly part is best. This should also be done using the paint brush, but must be done very gently. The bat won't recognise this as food, but by very gently pushing the food against its lips you may encourage it to try.

Place the box in a cool, quiet place.

Once your bat is as comfortable as you can make it, you must contact an expert. Either call us here at the Cornwall Bat Hospital or call you local RSPCA.

Whatever you do you must take care, not to cause further harm to the animal and you must contact an expert.

You may feel as if you haven't done very much, but you could have just saved its life!

UK Bat helplines - More about the hospital - Some batty facts - Bats and the law

New 1st December 1998

Good Bat related websites with lots of info

UKBat Conservation Trust
USAOrganization for Bat Conservation Michigan 


Reproduced with the kind approval of The Cornwall Wildlife Trust
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