Frequently Asked Questions

I have found a sick or injured bat. What should I do?

If you find a bat outside and are able to approach it or pick it up, it is probably sick, injured or weak. To avoid it suffering any further distress gently pick it up and put it in a secure box. The box should be lined with kitchen paper to give the bat a grip and must have a tightly fitting lid or the bat will quickly escape. Make a few small air holes in the lid. Soak some tissue in water and put this in a small container in the box. If you have some cat food try giving the bat a little (just half a teaspoonful will be plenty). Leave the box in a quiet, dark place until dusk. If the weather is dry and not too cold, take the bat outside at dusk, warming it first in your hands until it starts to move about. Hold your palm out flat at chest height at see if the bat flies away  Note you must always wear gloves when handling bats

If the bat is clearly injured when you find it (signs of blood, damaged wing, etc.) or seems OK but does not fly away after following the above instructions call the

 Bat Conservation Trust  help line on  0845 1300 228


There is a bat flying around inside my house. How do I get it out?

Bats can get into houses through small crevices, down the chimney, through open doors and windows or they may be brought in and released by the cat. Mostly they will fly about at night and hide in some secluded corner during daylight, only to appear again the following night, perhaps in a different room. When flying they make high-pitched sounds which we can't hear called echolocation, which tell them what obstacles are in their way. So, if you have a large window in the room open it and the bat will likely soon find its way out. Otherwise wait for it to settle (often in the folds of a curtain) approach it slowly, pick it up gently using gloves and take it outside. If the bat 'disappears' it is best to wait until it re-emerges. There is no easy way to find a bat a hidden bat unless you are prepared to move all your furniture!

A bat inside a building is usually a one-off event. If you have repeated problems call   Bat Conservation Trust  help line on  0845 1300 228


There are bats living in my roof / under the eaves. What should I do?

Best to leave them alone! Bats originally lived in natural crevices like tree holes, but because we have destroyed many of their natural homes many have now adapted to live in our houses, even modern ones. Bats usually live in buildings during summer (May-September) going elsewhere to hibernate for the winter. They make use of existing crevices and do not build nests, so they cause no damage to property. The worst problem you are likely to encounter is a few droppings beneath their entry point. Bats are insect eaters and their droppings comprise mostly bits of insect wings, so they don't smell or carry diseases transmissible to humans. Many bats in houses live under the eaves, inside soffits or between tiles and roofing felt, so never go inside the roof space. But if you have an older house you may have brown long-eared bats hanging from the main beam. Bats usually return to the same place year after year.

Because bats have declined dramatically in recent years all bats and their roosts are protected by law at all times. It is illegal to do anything which may harm them or stop them entering or leaving their roost site, even if they are apparently absent at the time, without first obtaining advice from English Nature. The sort of thing which might require advice is replacing, repairing or repainting fascias, soffits and bargeboards; re-roofing the property; having the timbers treated for woodworm or dry rot; or converting the loft into a room.


Someone wants to redevelop some property nearby, but I see bats flying there. Can they go ahead?

Bats and their roosting places are protected by law, but bats may fly several miles at night so there are few places where you are unlikely to see at least one if you look. The key thing is do the bats roost in the buildings or trees to be affected? If you see bats leaving at dusk, often from a small hole high up on a building, then it is very likely they roost there. So, first of all, go out on a few evenings and try to spot whether the bats are going out to feed elsewhere, or coming to the site to feed, from elsewhere. Getting a conclusive answer is not always easy, even for an expert, so if there is any doubt, it is best to assume that they might live there.

If you have good reason to suspect that bats do live at the site, tell the Planning Dept of the local council. Bats are a material consideration when deciding whether to grant planning permission, but if you don't say anything it is possible that the applicant or council might not know anything about them. Usually the council will then ask the applicant to have a survey carried out by an expert. Even if there are bats present, that is only occasionally sufficient on its own to stop a development. However, the developer will have a legal duty to carry out agreed measures to try to ensure that bats continue to live at the site after the development has taken place and will need a licence from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in addition to valid planning permission.


Will bats harm me or my family?

No. Bats are small, insect-eating mammals that are likely to be more afraid of you, than you are of them. Most species which live in houses weigh only a few grammes and many adult bats would fit in a matchbox with their wings closed. It is always wise to avoid letting any animal try to bite you, but the teeth of many of our bats are too small to pierce the skin. Bats have excellent navigation skills thanks to their echolocation system, so they won't get caught in your hair. There are no vampire bats in Britain!


If I have a roost in my house, will I be overrun with bats in a few years?

Very unlikely. Although the majority of obvious roosts in houses consist largely of female bats which gather together to give birth, they breed at a very slow rate so big increases in numbers are very rare. A bat is usually several years old before it breeds for the first time and even then it may not breed every year. When it does breed, it only gives birth to one youngster a year. Because bats feed only on insects, they have to hibernate in the winter, first putting on sufficient fat to see them through the cold months. This can be quite a challenge for a young bat, so many die in their first winter.

So, although most of the adult females and their female babies will return the next year to your house, the overall total number of bats is likely to be roughly the same. That is not to say that you won't notice some fluctuation in numbers. For example, most villages or areas of a town will probably have a colony of 200 - 300 Pipistrelle bats. They will know a variety of roosting sites, some suitable only in certain weather conditions, which they will use. If the weather changes suddenly, bats from another roost might arrive or all your bats might leave and go elsewhere. And if they lose a favoured roost, then they have to look elsewhere so you might gain bats from that roost.


Further information
If you need further information or advice about bats in Yorkshire please call the Bat Conservation Trust  help line on
 0845 1300 228. If necessary a local 'bat worker' will be asked to call on you to help solve your problem. There is no charge for this service.

Bat surveys required in connection with planning applications for developments or the preparation of DEFRA licence applications is not covered by this service. These services can be obtained on a fee basis from suitably qualified ecological consultants.

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