BAT CARER’S BLOG 2-13 July 2020
Well, it has been another busy two weeks with Norfolk’s bats. We’re now up to nearly 25 pups, and whilst most are now down to four-five hourly feeds, we are still getting the occasional very young pups in as well as juveniles which are ready to start learning to fly. Most of the babies being found are common and soprano pipistrelles, but we’ve also had one brown long-eared bat and one juvenile serotine, which is an unusual find for us. A couple of babies have been very happily reunited with their mums. Sometimes the adults fly up and get the baby very quickly, but other times swarming around the baby can happen for several minutes.
The little one above was about 3-4 days old when it was found on the floor outside a home and mites covered its entire body. We attempted to reunite the bat with its mother but there was very little bat activity and no interest shown at all in the baby, so we’re theorising that the roost had relocated to another building due to the build up in parasites. It must be very uncomfortable for the bats, so we use a type of cellotape to remove the mites and, if the bat is old and strong enough, sometimes a tiny amount of cat flea repellent. It’s not just the baby bats getting into trouble. We are still getting adults brought into care including some unusual cases this week, such as an adult male Natterer’s bat who was fished out of a river and fed on cat food for four days before help could be found and a serotine found in a wheelie bin.
We’ve also had another pipistrelle stuck to flypaper. Sticky flypaper can be disastrous for bats, who can get stuck and then die slowly and painfully from starvation and dehydration so we always ask to please, please avoid hanging sticky flypaper and glue traps in areas bats can access, particularly in lofts and if you do find a bat stuck to such a trap, don’t try to free it yourself but seek professional help as soon as you can. Thankfully, the little guy below was successfully freed, bathed in a solution to dissolve the glue, and then washed thoroughly.
BAT CARER’S BLOG 21-28 June 2020
“Hello, I’ve been given your number by the Bat Conservation Trust’s helpline. I have found a baby bat and I don’t know what to do. Can you help?”
It’s Sunday 21 June and Norfolk’s bat carers have been waiting for this call for the last week or so, having heard of baby bats being found in other counties since early June. With our maternity roosts seemingly a little behind this year, we’ve been given a welcome chance to treat and clear as many rehabilitated bats out of the flight cage as possible to make space for what is always a very busy few months. Baby bats, called pups, are born furless and blind. They often wander when left unattended by their mothers, sometimes falling through small gaps in buildings and ending up getting separated from the rest of the roost. Whilst we try to reunite the pups with their mums, who often respond to the calls of the baby bat as they leave the roost at night, sometimes this is just not possible. In these instances, the baby is taken into care and hand reared until it can be released back into the wild. Hand rearing is extremely labour intensive. The pups need to be kept warm at all times to help digest food and promote growth, and in the very early stages need to be fed every three hours. We feed them Babydog powdered milk for puppies, or goats milk in an emergency, as these have been found to most closely mimic their mothers milk. Little and often is the key, alongside regular water, to prevent their tummies becoming bloated and blocked.
As of Sunday 28 June we have five pups, all pipistrelles. A sixth was reported but was found so starved that it couldn’t be encouraged to eat and it sadly died soon after being collected.
Getting baby bats help quickly is key to their survival. If you find a bat in the daytime, baby or adult, please call the Bat Conservation Trust’s helpline on 0345 1300 228 who will be able to put you in touch with a local bat carer.
Broads Authority takes steps to secure the future of rare bat species
The Broads Authority has invested in 30 Schwegler bat boxes which will provide roosting places for the uncommon bat species, Nathusius’ pipistrelle (4th February 2019).
Rare bats discovered at Whitlingham Country park – Eastern Daily Press, 28th Nov 2017
A rare bat species, known as the Nathusius’ pipistrelle, has been discovered at Whitlingham Country Park. The results of surveys carried out by Norwich Bat Group showed the site to be one of the most important in The Broads for this uncommon and little-known bat species.
2017 is the first year that Norwich Bat Group has joined the National Nathusius’ Pipistrelle Project run by The Bat Conservation Trust. The project has already revealed important information about this species by trapping and ringing to identify individuals. It has been discovered that, as well as being a resident species in the UK, Nathusius’ pipistrelle also migrates between north east European countries such as Latvia and Lithuania and the UK.
The bats migrate south during the autumn months to escape the harsh winters and return in the spring, crossing the North Sea on their journey to and from Europe.
This summer, Norwich Bat Group trapped and ringed Nathusius’ pipistrelle at eight separate locations across the Broads National Park and two other sites in North Norfolk. The trapping methods do not harm the bats and they are released immediately after confirming identify, weighing, measuring and ringing with a unique ring number. A total of thirty two trapping sessions have been carried out by twenty two dedicated volunteers and fifty two Nathusius’ pipistrelles have been ringed in The Broads, thirteen at Whitlingham. Essex and Bedfordshire Bat Groups joined Norwich Bat Group to help on two evenings .
The numbers of this rare bat discovered in the Broads, and particularly at Whitlingham, supports the staggering Broads National Park statistic that although they only cover 0.1% of the country, they are responsible for more than a quarter of its rarest and most significant wildlife.
Each year, Norwich Bat Group and other bat groups around the country will be sending their results to the National Nathusius’ Pipistrelle Project. The combined data will develop a more comprehensive understanding of this enigmatic migratory bat which is needed for the long-term conservation of populations of this species.
Andrea Kelly, the Broads Authority’s Senior Ecologist said of the project,
“The Broads Authority have funded and supported this vital project and we hope it will lead to the Nathusius’ pipistrelle being better understood and therefore better protected in the future.”
Notes for the Editors:
- The Broads Authority
The Broads Authority has the important job of looking after the Broads and the interests of the people who live, work and visit there. The Broads Authority has two purposes identical to the other national park family members relating to conservation and promoting people’s understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the area. It also has a third purpose to look after the waterways for navigation. In addition, it is a planning authority and has a duty to foster the economic and social well-being of its communities.
- Norwich Bat Group
The Norwich Bat Group was formed in 2007 and works to help protect, conserve and raise the awareness of bats in Norwich and the surrounding area. Of the approximately 17 resident species of bat found in Britain, at least ten species have been recorded in and around Norwich. Promoting awareness of bats to the general public includes leading guided bat activity walks, training volunteers for the National Bat Monitoring Program and participating in wildlife events. Protecting and conserving bats also includes finding new roosts, gathering new records of bats and monitoring known bat roosts and feeding areas. The group is affiliated to the Bat Conservation Trust, the national voice for bats in Britain.
- The National Nathusius’ Pipistrelle Project
The National Nathusius’ Pipistrelle Project was launched in 2014 with a grant from the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, to improve our understanding of the ecology, current status and conservation threats for Nathusius’ pipistrelles in Great Britain.
The aims of the project are to:
- Determine the resident and breeding status of Nathusius’ pipistrelle in Great Britain.
- Determine the migratory origins of Nathusius’ pipistrelles in Great Britain.