IMPORTANT – Rabies vector species should never be handled without gloves. A bat flying around in the daytime or banging into things, or unable to fly is a sign something could be wrong. Call the WRSOS hotline for advice regarding rabies vector species.
Bats On The Ground
LEFT: Image courtesy of Kayla Hatzel
There are many circumstances that may cause a bat to wind up on the ground:
- Knocked to ground by a predator such as owls, crows, cats, etc.
Young bat dropped by mother.
- Fatigue/lack of nourishment/weakness – common in spring and fall or in seasons where there can be large temperature fluctuations and a lack of food and water.
It is important to know that all species of Saskatchewan bats are unable to take flight from the ground and are also unable to jump. They must be able to drop from something such as a wall or tree in order to fly. Bats that are grounded are completely helpless and can be easily contained with a box or pail. Please keep children and pets away from grounded bats. Bats are gentle animals but, may bite when they are sick or frightened.
A grounded bat can be helped using the following technique:
- Get a large piece of Tupperware, shoe box, or similar container and a thin piece of cardboard larger than the container’s opening.
- WEARING GLOVES, gently place the container over the bat. Take care not to catch it’s wings, they are delicate!
- Slide the thin piece of cardboard under the container and bat. Be slow and gentle, give the bat time to climb on top of the cardboard.
- Once the bat is inside the container, keep the piece of cardboard on the box and slowly turn it over. If you cannot release it immediately, tape the lid on.
- Place the box as high as possible against a shady, textured surface (tree, brick, stucco, cedar etc.).
- Slide the cardboard “lid” out.
- Give the bat time to cling to the surface then remove the box.
If the bat remains for a long period of time or is too weak to hang on there could be other issues and it should be brought to a licensed rehabilitator. Contain it in a box or Tupperware, provide a face cloth or rag for it to hide in and contact the Wildlife Hotline for further instructions.