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Help! I have found a bat that needs help!


If the helpline is not being manned 24 hours (such as during the winter) or if there is a delay in help arriving, these suggestions may be helpful:


1.Try not to handle the bat at all, if you can.

Normally handling bats requires a licence (as they are a protected species) but the law is sensible, better to handle an animal in distress to help it then leave it to die! Bats are delicate little things and easily frightened though, so if you can avoid picking them up they will appreciate it. ALWAYS WEAR GLOVES.


2.Is the bat obviously injured?

If the bat is limping (one wing/arm or foot is dragging in comparison to the other) or there is damage to its body or holes in its wings this bat is likely to need trained help. The helpline may advise a volunteer will visit, or may ask if you can take the bat to a vet. Either way, the bat needs to be kept safe and comfortable until help arrives. If a vet is willing to treat a bat but not re-habilitate it, please call the Bat Helpline to arrange bat care.


3.Make sure the bat is not dehydrated. 

Try giving the bat some water on a small, clean paintbrush, they dehydrate very quickly due to the large surface area of their wings. Water can also be left for them to lap in a shallow container such as the plastic top of a milk bottle.


4.Keep your bat safe.

If appropriate, put a milk top of water by the bat and place an upturned cardboard box over the bat, weight the flaps on the outside to stop it blowing away.


If this is not practical, move the bat. Using gloves, place the bat in a shoebox lined with sheets of kitchen paper in a dark quiet place. Put water in for the bat but remember to take it out again before moving the box (a cold, wet, injured bat is not going to be a happy one!). Please always remember to put the lid on the box, after piercing small air holes in it, bats are amazing escapologists…even severely injured ones!



Next steps...


If your bat appears to be uninjured, has taken water and is moving well, try to release it at dusk, where it was found, from a point over 1m high, away from cats. Unfortunately, cats are a bat’s no 1 predator. Bats can’t take off very well from the ground, a gliding start is better for them, so a higher starting point is better. It may well shiver to warm itself up before take-off.


If the bat can’t or won’t fly, call 0345 1300 228 to arrange for a bat carer to attend to it.


Cats are sadly very fond of 'playing' with bats and responsible for a huge number of bat deaths each year. If your cat is looking guilty, or hopefully before things get to that stage, please click here to download a copy of the leaflet ‘How to avoid a CATastrophe’.


For more information on bat care and access to other useful bat facts, click on the Bat Conservation Trust logo.

BLE in care

If you have come to this website beacuse you have found a bat, or  you need help with bats in your property, please call:


If your call is not answered,  please leave a message and someone will respond to you as soon as possible.


Please don’t panic!


Please DO phone the national bat helpline on 0345 1300228 as soon as you can, a trained advisor will then be able to help you, help the bat. If a bat worker needs to come out, the bat help line operator will get in touch with a bat carer in your area. Usually for Northumberland, an NBG member. We will get there as soon as we can but please be patient with us, we are all volunteers!


Northumberland Bat Group has several volunteers trained in caring for bats and returning them to the wild.

Three little bats

Three little pipistrelles in care - feeding time at the zoo.

What do carers feed bats in care?


Injured bats are fed live mealworms, available from pet shops supplying reptile keepers.  Even these are not ideal, but they are as near to their wild food as we can get (plus feeding a bat over 3000 midges a night would be time consuming!). The photograph above shows three young pipistrelles eating chopped up mealworms.

5.Try feeding the bat.

Finding suitable food is more of a problem, all bats are insectivores and some are quite picky about what they eat. In the wild a bat will not eat every night, if it is short of food it will conserve energy by going cold and very still. This looks a lot like it has died, but is a form of hibernation so don’t worry. Water is more important though, so if you have none, don’t worry. Try a non-fishy dog or cat food, the less smelly the better.


If you cannot feed it, make sure it has drunk some water and keep it safe, quiet, cool and dark until help comes.

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