Hibernation & Rehabilitation

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA lot of people ask what happens to our over-wintering bats in care:  Do they hibernate?  Where do they live over the winter? Are they in the flight cage?  Do they eat in the winter?  Well, we have 9 bats over-wintering, for various reasons.  We’ve got a few bats that came in last year as pups that were not strong enough fliers to be released pre-hibernation, so as soon as the weather warms up, they will move into the flight cage to get used to feeding on the wing before being released.  A couple of our bats came in with injuries that weren’t healed in time to be released, so they are in care over winter and will be released in the spring, after a period of rehabilitation.  During these cold months, the bats certainly do slow down a bit – they are less active, less chattery, and their food intake reduces.  They are kept indoors, so they don’t truly hibernate, but their activity noticeably reduces.  However, the bats that need rehabilitation do need to practice flying, so they are flown occasionally through the winter just to give them the opportunity to build up their flight muscles so they aren’t too out of practice to move into the flight cage in the spring.  Here’s some footage of Common Pipistrelles Paul & Kevin practicing last week..