Rescue centre shines bat signal in call for new volunteers

A new generation of bat men and women are required to help injured bats and nurse them back to health.

An appeal has been launched urging animal lovers to take in injured bats.

Specially trained carers across Scotland are taking bats into their homes and nursing them back to health so they can be returned to the wild.

Every year, at least 1,500 grounded or injured bats in the UK owe their survival to volunteers.

Jean Oudney runs Tayside Bat Care Network and delivers training at her home in Blairgowrie.

She told STV News: “Bats are so important for our eco-systems.

“They’re a major insect predator, a nocturnal predator. A single pipistrelle will eat thousands of midgies a night, so they’re very important to us.

“We need more carers around so we can pick up grounded and injured bats, help care for them and then release them, if possible, into their own environment.”

Every year, at least 1,500 grounded or injured bats in the UK owe their survival to volunteers.

Jean is currently caring for a Soprano Pipistrelle who’s been named Queen Bee.

She was found at a house in Fife and is thought to be pregnant.

St Andrews University PHD biology student Nikita Groot has been helping to feed Queen Bee as she trains to be a bat carer.

“They’re just the most interesting and I think overlooked creatures,” said Nikita, who is from New Zealand.

“As they’re nocturnal we don’t pay much attention to them, but they’re got their own world going on and they’re incredibly intelligent and quite adorable as well, and they’ve just got so many interesting features.

“I hope to be able to understand them a lot more, and to help other people appreciate them and I also hope to help out as many bats as I can.”

Prospective carers need to be vaccinated against rabies.

A small number of bats in the UK have been found to carry rabies viruses called European Bat Lyssaviruses, but the Bat Conservation Trust say the risk of catching the disease from a bat is very low.

“Once a volunteer has had their vaccination they can come to me and I’ll give them basic training, how to triage a bat, how to care for a bat,” explained Jean.

 “We’re particularly short of carers in Angus now, in north Angus we don’t have anyone and in Dundee we could do with more help,

“Also in the north Perthshire area, around Pitlochry, we could do with somebody up there as well.

“If anybody is interested in helping to care for our injured bats, we definitely do need their help.”

Anyone who would like to speak to Jean about volunteering in Tayside can email her on: or visit the Tayside Bat Group website:

More information about what’s involved in caring for bats is also available on the Bat Conservation website:

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