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Devon Bat Group
Frequently Asked Questions

Please send your questions to: DBG email

Index
 

Bats in the roof 1

Bats in the roof 2

Finding a Bat

Bats and Rabies

Bats and Anglers


I've got bats in the roof. How do I get rid of them?
  Bats are harmless. They have had a bad press from Gothic novels and films. Some people have a phobia about bats, but like many phobias it has no real basis. If you just don't like them, that's fair enough, but give them a fair deal. And they won't get stuck in your hair.

They are shy little mammals and keep themselves to themselves. Even vampire bats, which live in some South American tropical countries, are no real threat to humans and they do not suck blood as in the movies.

Bats are highly protected in Britain and it is illegal to disturb bats or bat roosts. However, it is recognised that they can sometimes be a nuisance and a local licenced Bat Warden can help. Before any building or other work is done where bats are roosting, you must ask a bat warden for advice by law.

The worst a nat roost can do is to leave droppings. A roof space can be protected by sheets or vinyl and again the bat warden can advise about this. However, a bat roost can be moved if necessary, but this must be done with the minimum of disturbance to the bats as specified by a bat warden.

Contacts:
The Local Bat Group
North Devon 01409 281178
South Devon 01803 782218
Bat Conservation Trust
English Nature


I've got bats in the roof. How can I help them?
  This is the sort of question we like best. Bats are charming little creatures and it is well worth putting up with a few droppings for the privilege of having these rare mammale in the roof

Devon provides habitats for all the species of British bats and is one of few areas where our most endangered bats can still be found. If you have a roost of one of these rarest bats, your roof space is very important.

Many roosts are seasonal, with bats hibernating in the winter and breeding in the summer. Both types of roost need all the protection you can give them.

Arrange a visit by a local bat warden who will advise on conservation and how to avoid problems. It is illegal to disturb roosting bats, so the basic advice is to leave them strictly alone, but the bat worden can advise you how their habitat can be improved. Bat boxes outside can give the bats alternative roosing places, for instance.

Why not join your county Bat Group and learn more about these delightful little animals? You can find details on:

Bat Conservation Trust
English Nature


What's all this about rabies?
 

Panic slowly. In fact the disease, found in only 2 out of over 3000 bats tested in Britain, is not classic rabies (dog rabies) but a related virus called European Bat Lissavirus 2 (EBL2). This is a rare virus and has been reported only 20 times in the whole of Europe. The more common EBL1 has not been found in Britain.

Any member of the public is very unlikely to come into contact with a bat and extremely unlikely to come into contact with an infected bat. Two exceptions are bat workers, who have to have a licence, and anglers. See Bats and Anglers It has been said that even a bat worker is many times more likely to be killed in a car crash than contact an infected bat.

EBL2 has noly been found in two European apecies of bat and only one of these is found in Britain, the Daubenton's bat. Daubenton's feed over water, hence the occasional contact with anglers. They rarely roost in houses and very few people will even know they are around, let alone come into contact with them. See: Finding a bat


I'm an Angler and a bat occasionally gets tangled in a line.
What should we do?
  Apart from bat workers, anglers are the only other people who may occasionally come into contact with a bat. The risk is low, but there is an even smaller risk of coming across a bat with Lissavirus (See: Bats and Rabies) which is related to rabies. The risk of finding a bat carrying lissavirus is minute, but precautions must be taken. The species of bat which has been found with Lissavirus in only two cases in Britain is the Daubenton's bat, which feeds over water, hence a possible connection with anglers.

Bats are highly protected by law, but a person without a bat licence is permitted to come to the aid of an injured or trapped bat, but the bat must not be further injured or killed. A dead bat should be given to one of the contacts below for analysis.

Wear thick gloves to free a bat which may panic and bite. If it not seriously injured, let it go. If it has torn a wing or is more badly injured, put it in a cardboard box or a ventilated container and call one of the following for advice.

The Local Bat Group
North Devon 01409 281178
South Devon 01803 782218
RSPCA
Bat Conservation Trust
English Nature


What do I do if I find a dead or injured bat?
 

Bats are highly protected by law, but a person without a bat licence is permitted to come to the aid of a injured or trapped bat, but the bat must not be further injured or killed.

Most people can live a lifetime without coming into contact with a bat, but if you do, there are some precautions to take. Make sure you are not bitten by an injured or trapped bat. If you are, contact the NHS helpline 0800 733 5066

If it not seriously injured, let it go. If it has torn a wing or is more badly injured, put it in a cardboard box or a ventilated container and call for advice. If a dead bat is found, it should be given to one of the contacts below for analysis.

Ideally scoop the bat up into a cardboard box or a container with ventilation and phone one of the numbers below. If you can't, wear thick gloves to avoid being bitten if the bat panics.

Contacts:
The Local Bat Group
North Devon 01409 281178
South Devon 01803 782218
RSPCA
Bat Conservation Trust
English Nature