This tiny common pipistrelle bat pup is less than a week old and is being cared for by Hazel Ryan, our senior Conservation Officer and bat carer for Kent Bat Group. He was found in a school playground when he was only about 2 days old. We think he may have fallen from his mum while she was carrying him during a flight. Baby bats weigh a third of their mum’s body weight at birth, so it is not long before they become too heavy for her to carry and have to be left behind in the roost while she goes out at night, hunting for insects.
Sadly, we were unable to find the building that the bats were roosting in. They are usually found under roof tiles, roofing felt or weather boards that heat up in the sunshine to keep the babies warm. The recent extremely hot weather has caused some bats to move to cooler buildings to
prevent them from overheating. Sometimes the young are dropped during the move or have to be left behind, with the mums returning to feed them at night.
This lucky pup is being hand raised using puppy milk and when he is bigger will join other older pups that Hazel has also reared. They will progress onto a diet of mealworms then have flight practice in our bat flight cage, a partnership project with Kent Bat Group. You will sometimes see Hazel test flying bats there in the afternoon.
They will then be left overnight in our specially made heated bat box so that they can learn to catch their own insects using eco-location, something they usually learn by following their mums and other members of the bat colony. A moth light attracts tiny mosquitoes and midges into the cage
and the conservation team have been breeding fruit flies, using waste fruit from our dormouse enclosures. Once in the wild, each bat will eat 3000 tiny mosquitoes, midges and flies per night! We hope to release them back to the wild later in the summer.
If you see a bat out during the daytime it usually needs help. Please call Wildwood or the National Bat Helpline to find your nearest bat carer.