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Are Bats like Buses ???

Bats, none for over a year and then three come along in one day!

As they say “you wait for one and then along come three ....”!  This proved to be the case at Abbey House where we rarely see bats but this week, in fact on one day, we received three.  All were pipistrelles, the most common species in the UK.  Two were bright, active, healthy and eating a combination of dog food and mealworms.  After a short time in our care they were transferred to a bat rehabilitation centre where soon they will be released, always the aim of any treatment of wild animals.  Unfortunately the other one became ill with diarrhoea and despite fluid therapy and other supportive measures it died the following day.

As some of you may be aware a small number of UK bats carry the rabies virus and hence the Veterinary Laboratories Agency examines all dead bats to determine the cause of their death.

Our nurses and vets are very careful when handling bats and wear thick gloves as the rabies virus is transmitted by bites or occasionally scratches.  One of our vets is vaccinated against rabies for extra protection.  It needs to be emphasised that the virus is very uncommon and one only needs to be sensible to avoid any risk to you or your pets.

Sleeping BatAs you can see from the photograph bats are amazing creatures, with exquisite wings and limbs as well as the amazing ability to echolocate their prey.  They are all protected species and it is an offence to hurt them or disturb their nests or roosts.

Ways in which you can help include leaving their roosts undisturbed, bringing any injured bats to veterinary practices for treatment and cat owners have an extra responsibility in keeping their cats in at dusk as this is the time when the bats emerge.  Cats can kill bats but more commonly damage their wings making it impossible for them to fly.

If you need any advice about bats please contact the practice or the Bat Conversation Trust helpline on 0845 1300228.

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