What to do if you have found a bat

Please DO NOT TOUCH it or attempt to rescue it yourself!

 

Bats are not aggressive animals, but they will defend themselves when they are trapped, frightened or in agony and you will most likely get bitten or scratched – which will get you and the bat in trouble. Please keep your kids and pets away from the bat.

 

Call our 24-hour bat rescue hotline on 0447 222 889 (Gold Coast Area) and we will send an experienced volunteer rescuer. We do not charge for our services. Our rescuers are all trained volunteers who rescue and rehabilitate bats free of charge as a community service.
They receive no government funding and are not paid for their time. Donations are always welcome to pay for petrol, phone bills, fruit and veterinary supplies.

 

If you can avoid direct contact with the bat, you can place a towel or box over the bat to keep it in place and to protect it from direct sunlight until the rescuer arrives. You can use a broom or pool cleaning net to gently move it out of harm’s way or to scoop it out of water. Never handle a bat with bare hands, no matter how small it is! Ask our rescue phone operator for advice if you are unsure of what to do or read the following paragraphs for more information.

 

Why do bats need rescuing?

 

Bats in the wild have very few predators, however as human habitation encroaches on their habitat, bats are coming into care for a variety of reasons:

 

Fruit Netting Entrapment

 

Backyard fruit-protection netting kills countless bats, birds, snakes and marsupials each year. Fruit isn’t the preferred food of flying foxes – they would rather eat native nectar and pollen. If there is not much native food around, however, bats will eat fruit in backyard gardens and orchards. They invariably get caught in netting.

 

If you see a bat in a net, it will not ‘get itself out’ it will die a long, slow death. Call our 24-hour bat rescue line immediately. Do not attempt to rescue the bat – a frightened bat will bite and scratch.

 

How to protect your fruit

 

The goal is to protect your fruit, not catch bats, so if you feel you must net, follow these guidelines:
  • Use white, multi-strand, knitted netting – it deters them as it is easier for bats to see
  • NEVER use black netting – bats can’t see it and are sure to get stuck.
  • Pull netting TIGHT as a trampoline – bats are less likely to get caught in tight netting

Other bat deterrents

  • Place a floodlight with a movement sensor on the tree. Bats will fly away when the light turns on.
  • Place chicken wire canopy over the tree – it will keep bats off your fruit, and they will not get stuck in it.
For more info about wildlife-friendly crop protection see

 

Barbed Wire Entanglement

 

Barbed wire is responsible for the slow, agonising deaths of bats, gliders, birds and small marsupials such as wallabies.

 

If you see a bat on barbed wire, it will not ‘get itself out’ it will die a long, slow death. Do not attempt to rescue the bat – a frightened bat will bite and scratch. Cover it with a towel or sheet and call our 24-hour bat rescue line immediately.

 

Alternatives to barbed wire

  • Use an electric fence – a bat may get a shock, but will keep away in future!
  • If you must use barbed wire, place a white string or electrical tape along the top wire – bats will see it at night, and will not get caught.
For more info about wildlife-friendly crop protection click here.

 

Dog or Cat Attacks

 

Domestic pets are responsible for the deaths of thousands of native animals each year, including bats and flying foxes. Prevent your pets killing wildlife by locking your cats and dogs in a secure area away from trees and shrubs at night.

 

What to do if your pet had direct contact with a bat:
  • If you can, bring the dog or cat inside immediately.
  • Do not touch the bat – an injured bat will bite or scratch.
  • Call our 24 hour bat rescue service immediately.

Pets and disease

 

Bats are known to be a carrier of the Hendra Virus and the Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV), which both can pose a risk to the health of humans and pets. Although, to date, no dog or cat has ever contracted Hendra or ABLV (Australian Bat Lyssavirus) directly from a bat, research is still being carried out to fully understand how both viruses are transmitted. Thus, if your cat or dog has been in direct contact with a bat, please urgently consult your veterinarian for advice. For more information and the most up to date research, visit the information pages of the Queensland Government:

Car Collisions

Many bats are hit by cars at night. If you hit a bat, or see a live bat on the road or in the gutter:
  • Remove it from the road to the gutter only if you can do so safely without getting bitten or scratched. NEVER use your bare hands as the stunned animal WILL bite or scratch you.
  • Don’t put a loose bat in your car, even if it appears unconscious. A bat that is stunned will soon regain consciousness and try to climb your arm or leg to get to safety.
  • Cover it with a box (put a weight on top), or towel and call our 24 hour bat rescue service immediately.
  • Advise us of the nearest landmark so we can find the bat. Stay with the bat if possible until a rescuer arrives.

Electrocution

Many bats are electrocuted on power lines every year. More often than not it will be a female and will have a young baby attached to her, especially from October to February. In most cases the baby will survive for up to a week on the mother’s decomposing body. If our team members and Energex can get the baby down in time, the baby can be raised and released.
It is important to call our bat rescue line ASAP:
  • Note the power pole number
  • Note approximate address of the bat.
  • Try to determine if there is a baby there by clapping your hands loudly or ringing your phone. Baby (if well enough) will respond with a chitter.
  • Do not try to remove the bat yourself