#Project365; Day 355. First bat of the season!
Not a great photo, but this is my first bat rescue of the season, and the first call I’ve had direct from the public, via the BCT – Bat Conservation Trust – helpline, with whom I’m now registered as an available bat carer/rescuer. I’ve served my apprenticeship with Surrey Bat Rescue, and am still very happily under the auspices of Steve’s mentorship and expertise.
I’ve had Nipper the BLE with me all over the winter, but I haven’t had a bat call since last autumn, so it was a jolt to be out collecting a bat and doing the initial assessment and first aid. BLEs (brown long eared bats) are medium sized – Nipper is around 10g – so it was quite a shock to pick up a pipistrelle (by far the most common species, and therefore the one we see in rescue most often) and see how absolutely tiny they are. Lynx the common pipistrelle was 4.8g on arrival, and 5.3g (so a teaspoon of sugar in your tea!) this morning after rehydration and a good meal. She was found on her back on the ground, very weak and sticky with cobwebs. What I love about bat rescue is that you see this tiny creature go from totally weak and seeming almost dead, to reviving, with gentle coaxing and intensive care, to a feisty, squeaking critter who’s ready for release within a week or two.
When I got her home, Lynx (her finder’s address was a links golf course) couldn’t even hold her head up. Once I’d warmed her up and got some ‘critical care’ fluids into her, I managed to get her eating mealworm innards. After a good feed, I got her into a nice warm vivarium with a dish of mealworms. Usually, it’s taken my bats at least a few hand-feeds to get the hang of eating mealworms before they start self-feeding. When I went up an hour or two later to get Lynx out for another hand-feed, she was sitting in the empty food bowl. She’d got the hang of self-feeding more quickly than any bat I’ve had before. 😀