You never quite know what is going to turn up at Woods Mill nature reserve. This was certainly the case for Ryan Greaves who was leading an Easter Holiday Club when he was alerted by a visitor to an injured bat on the ground. The female soprano pipistrelle was soaking wet and covered in mud, she would also have been very hungry due to the cold wet spring we experienced.
Luckily for this bat Ryan is a licensed bat worker and registered bat rescuer so he immediately took her to Amanda Millar at the Hurstpierpoint Bat Hospital. The bat was seriously underweight, with fur loss and possible paralysis of the legs.
With careful nursing this tiny pipistrelle began to gain weight, and at the end of May surprised everyone by giving birth to a pup. Mum must have already been pregnant when she was discovered. The new-born baby bat was roughly the same size as a fingernail and completely bald, clinging to his mother for warmth and protection.
The baby grew quickly at the bat hospital, and took its first flight at 22 days, by this point he weighed a hefty 4.2g. The pup was released into the wild with other youngsters in August. Mum took longer to be able to fly again, as she had gained a lot of weight in hospital, weighing 8.2 g (which is very heavy for this species). After spending some time in the flight cage, she had reduced her weight to 7g and was able to fly for 15 minutes. It was decided she could be released.
Ryan had the honour of taking the rescued bat back to the spot at Woods Mill where he had found her almost six months before. After five minutes warming up in his hands, she decided she was ready and flew away into the night.
Thank you to Amanda Millar at the Hurstpierpoint Bat Hospital for the amazing care that ensured these two bats could be released back into the wild.
Releasing the bat at Woods Mill