Life isn’t all Chip-Chip Chop-Chop…

We’re starting to get towards the end of the ‘baby bat’ season, and although there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I am starting to twitch every time my phone rings, worried that the call means yet another young bat separated from its roost.  Many of you will have been following the story of Juanita, Belfry and Bella (the Boiler Room Bats), and I’m delighted to say that they are all doing well – about to try Belfry on his first test flight today!  I also currently have in care two juveniles and an adult that I’m ‘bat-sitting’ for another carer, a gorgeous little pip named Craig (after his finder) who I didn’t expect to live, but is now into his 3rd day and finally putting on some weight and having a bit of an appetite.  One of the more interesting calls this week was from Wolverhampton Homes, as the workers in a property that is currently being painted, plastered, etc had found two small bats on the floor after the loft hatch had been left open to allow access for technicians, etc.

Dusty & Winnie on their warm platform, waiting for emergence.

Dusty and Winnie (pictured above!) were both incredibly, well, dusty from being in the house, and both had to be cleaned up with a wet cotton bud to remove the build-up of grime.  I have to say that they both cleaned up nicely, and ate well, so the next step was to attempt to return them to the roost as soon as possible.

The folks at Wolverhampton Homes were very keen to help, and I met them at 8am one morning last week to access the loft and attempt to find the location of the roost (In the past I’ve successfully popped juveniles back into the roost and seen them reunited with their roost mates).  It was clear that the bats were accessing the loft space through a ventilation brick, as there were loads of droppings beneath it, but I couldn’t see or hear the bats anywhere so a release wasn’t possible.

I arranged to come back that evening to try a different approach.  The general idea is to bring the pups back to the roost just before emergence time, and to place them on a covered hot water bottle, as high up as you can, in hopes that when the bats emerge from the roost, their  mums will come down and pick them up.  Again, this is quite a long-shot, but I was determined to try.

Attempting to release Dusty & Winnie using the ‘Hot Water Bottle’ method – thanks to Emily for taking the photo!

Sadly, no bats were seen to emerge from the property at all, in spite of the weather conditions being perfect, so I now have no way of reuniting the pups with their mothers.  The outlook for them now will depend entirely on how well they take to flying and eating – as only bats capable of supporting themselves in the wild can be released.  However, Dusty & Winnie seem to be going from strength to strength, and have bonded with Ginny & Ron, two other juvenile pips – the two pairs are now inseperable and can usually be found hanging up in a ‘ball of bats’ in their tent.  The fact that they have now formed a social group will go in their favour, as it reduces stress, etc.

The folks at Wolverhampton homes requested information about bats, about what they can do to provide for their needs, and how they can make future tenants aware of what its like Living With Bats.

I’d like to say a huge ‘Thank You’ to Zac and Ian for everything you’ve tried to do to help these two little fighters, as well as everyone who came along for the attempted release.  Looking forward to the day when we can release them again!

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