Last week, I got a call from the caretaker of St Thomas Moore Catholic Primary School in Great Wyrley, saying that there was a bat flying around one of the classrooms. I arranged to meet one of our Bat Ambulance Drivers, Bex Cartwright, there the next morning. After searching for over an hour, we simply couldn’t find the bat in the classroom, but, not to miss an opportunity, we had brought our star bat, Bella with us to meet the students in Year 2, the Busy Bears!
The students had been hard at work thinking of words that rhyme with ‘BAT’, and were really excited to meet Bella, who has now met almost 400 people since she has been in care. Bex & I held a ‘bat questions’ session for the group, and they each got to see Bella close-up, and learned how the bat in their classroom was just as cute, tiny and fluffy, and nothing to be scared of.
Bex and I then left, promising to be ‘on call’ should the bat turn up, and sure enough, by the time I got back home to Wolverhampton, Bex was on her way back to the school where the missing bat (now named ‘Billie’) had been found in the adjacent bathroom – clearly not paying any attention to the fact that the room was designated as ‘Boys Only’.
Two nights later, Billie was released successfully! As the weather seems to be turning now, it is likely that Billie will be our last release of the year, and the 9 bats that we still have in care (5 boys: Belfry, Ron, Dusty, Kimi and Morgan and 4 girls: Bella, Winnie, Fizzgig and Pippa) will all be released in the Spring. Well done to Bex on your first solo release!
Bex is 30 and lives in Cannock, Staffordshire. She is currently in her final year of a BSc Animal Behaviour and Wildlife Conservation at Wolverhampton University and has just completed a placement year with the Field Studies Council. As a volunteer for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust she is involved with the local biological records centre and is soon to be involved with a new heathland restoration project on Cannock Chase. Bex is new to the bat care network and is hoping to be involved as a collector and short term carer. “I have taken part in and led a number of bat walks as well as attending training courses on bat ecology and identification and another on short term bat care. It’s a real privilege to be able to handle and care for these bats and even better to be able to release them.”