Bats and CatsSaturday 27th May 2000
AN INJURED BAT sips water from a plastic syringe. It is a Pipistrelle, Britain's commonest and smallest species; it is so small that it could fit in a matchbox.
This one was found in a house and may have been brought in by a cat. My friend John Gardner, the wildlife photographer, and his wife Heather, who are licensed bat workers, are looking after it and hoping that it will soon recover so that they can release it close to where it was found.
It has four tiny round puncture marks in its silky, elastic wing membrane, which should soon heal over. It's more difficult to tell if it has internal injuries. Cat's teeth are so sharp and smooth that they can bite deep without leaving much of a wound.
The people who found the bat called in an animal welfare worker who declared the bat dead and suggested that they should dispose of it. Fortunately the bat showed signs of life. They were advised to offer the bat sugared water and vegatables or hamster food, NONE OF WHICH ARE SUITABLE FOR BATS.
A bat found indoors will often be in need of a drink. They will usually sip water, plain cool tap water, from the end of a soft watercolour paint brush. Mealworms fed to them with a pair of tweezers might be taken. Slithers of cat food might be better than nothing.