Wiltshire Bat Care Network

An Introduction and thanks

Wiltshire Bat Care is run by volunteers who are part of the Wiltshire Bat Group.

This regional network was officially formed in 2020 to establish a formal and collaborative effort toward bat rescue, rehabilitation, and release in Wiltshire.

Rehabilitating pipistrelle bats (C) C.McCann

Wiltshire is a very large county, and historically there have been some amazing bat carers who have championed bats and their welfare, notably Anne Cozens who sadly passed away a few years ago who’s work was awe inspiring.

Bat care in Wiltshire has also been taken on in the past few years (in large part) by neighbouring carers and groups such as Bristol Bat Rescue (run by Kiri Green and Stew Rowden), Hampshire Bat Group (many thanks to Lena Griffiths and Debbie Harwood), Bat Rescue Berkshire (aided by Matt Baille), and Dorset Bat Care (assistance coordinated by Sally Humphries).

We cannot forget the other ambulance drivers and carers in county who have kept caring in Wiltshire going through the years. Particular thanks to Marilyn and Mike at Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital who are integral in taking in rescues, providing care and matching bats up with experienced carers (outside of  the hundreds of other animals they care for!).

A special thank you to all named and unnamed volunteers and we hope for your continued support in the years to come.

Caitlin McCann wiltshirebatcare@gmail.com

Find us on Instagram: ‘Wiltshire_bat_care’

Exercising bats in the new flight cage (C) C.McCann

Found a bat?

In an emergency

If your message is regarding an emergency concerning a bat in Wiltshire, please phone the National Bat Helpline at  BCT on 0345 1300 228.

– Their peak season is May-September and phone lines will be busy at this time. The BCT offices are open from 09:30-1630 Monday-Friday.

– There is an Out off Hours (OOH) service from 18:00 to 22:00 on weekdays and 10:00 to 22:00 on weekends. The OOH line is manned by volunteers and for emergency calls only. 

If you are a Veterinary Surgery, Wildlife Hospital, or a member of the public who has  been unsuccessful in contacting anyone at BCT or it is outside of their operating hours, please email this inbox or message the Wiltshire Bat Care phone: 07706 842128 (or if unavailable please contact 07588 339608), both which are actively monitored. Provided all information required to aid you has been given (see below) one of our volunteers will try to assist you.

N.B. All WBC ambulance drivers and carers volunteer their time alongside jobs, families and other commitments. There may  be circumstances where none of our volunteers are available. If this should transpire, grounded or injured bats should be contained (see containment advice below) and transported to the nearest wildlife hospital or veterinary surgery.

If are advised to and able to contain the bat (see containment advice below) and to bring to your local veterinary surgery, please provide the vets details as well in the information provided to WBC (below) and notify them that you have contacted Wiltshire Bat Care. It may be that the bat can be collected at a later opportunity by a WBC carer.

Please contact wiltshirebatcare@gmail.com for further advice or to seek help.

Required information:

  • Your Name (& Vet Surgery if applicable):
  • Address at which bat was found:
  • Details of location bat was found:
  • Date & Time bat was found:
  • Detail of appearance (e.g. smooth suede like fur, long ears):
  • Details of any injuries (e.g. cat attack, broken wing, bloody noticed):
  • Details of other people/groups contacted:

Containment advice:

N.B. Owing to the risk of EBLV (European Bat Lyssavirus, a virus than can cause a type of rabies) in the UK within bat populations, it is strongly recommended that bats are not handled and if handling to contain is required, that gloves are worn and hands are washed after contact. Chances of receiving a scratch or bite are very low, however precautions should always be taken.

Recovering Serotine bat (C) C.McCann

If you’ve been requested to contain a bat for rescue, please ensure the following:

  • Please ensure, as well as gloves, that you wear a face mask when containing a bat. UK bats are not known to carry Coronaviruses, however it is not yet known if humans are able to pass COVID-19 to bats (paramount importance for the welfare of not only the bat to be contained but any population it may return to).
  • Use a box or container that can be sealed as bats will easily escape. A shoe box for example with very small air holes will suffice.
  • Place a cloth or tea towel in the box to provide the bat with a place to hide.
  • Place a small cap (no bigger than a milk bottle top) with water in the box (N.B. Do not place saucers or bowls of water in with a bat as this may result in drowning. Also, do not fill with enough water that if the water were to spill, that the bat would get soaked).
  • You may, if within reach, be able to place your box on top of the bat and slide a piece of card or paper beneath it, much like some do with a cup to contain a spider. If that is not possible, while wearing gloves pick up the bat with a soft cloth.
  • Keep all pets and children away from the bat and place in a quiet and dark room.
  • Please do not attempt to feed the bat unless directed by a Vet or Bat Carer.
  • For bats flying in a property, lost in a property, out of reach to contain, or you are not able to contain the bat, please ensure the ‘Required Information’ above has been provided to this email address and review this link in the interim.

Not in Wiltshire – contact the relevant neighbouring group:

Click the web links or call the numbers……

Somerset Bat Group:

Bristol Bat Rescue: or call 07754 699836

Dorset: or call 07746 743221

Hampshire: call 07760 504257

How can I volunteer?

We are always in need of volunteers to contact/liaise with finders, collect injured bats (and pups), and rehabilitate and release. WBC also wishes to develop educational opportunities for local communities and schools with a focus on the importance of bat populations and bat conservation in the UK.

Barbastelle bat prior to release (C) C.McCann

Although training is not funded, WBC aims to provide distance learning from experienced bat carers (via Zoom during COVID restrictions) and people of all experiences are welcome to contact about potential training. All those who join WBC will be notified of all training opportunities in advance of non-WBC volunteers.

All those who wish to be upskilled to become to an ambulance driver or carer or are already an existing carer must provide evidence of an up to date rabies vaccination in order to join WBC in that capacity. For those who wish to join WBC to run or assist with events and/or help with advice and coordination, vaccination is not required. For assistance in asking your GP for a rabies jab, please see this PDF.

If you’d like to know more about joining WBC, please email Caitlin at Wiltshirebatcare@gmail.com.

Find us on Instagram: ‘Wiltshire_bat_care’

Bat care and Covid19

Please note, while bat care is continuing during the Covid19 pandemic, extra precautions are being taken to ensure that bats in care do not come into contact with the virus. The potential impacts of SARS-Cov-2 to bat populations in still as yet unknown, and as the first rule of bat care is ‘to do no harm’, risks in care work where avoidance of contact or sufficient mitigation is possible but not implemented, is not acceptable. In order to ensure risk of transfer is minimised, all volunteers must follow the IUCN guidelines regarding mitigation measures and restrictions to bat care at this time without exception.

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