Bat enquiries

CEDaR provides a point of contact for bat enquiries. Enquiries (bat calls) range from general interest, requests for talks, advice on species and their roosts to dealing with the fear of bats. The Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 gives full protection to bats and their roosts.

Bat calls are logged and referred to licensed members of the Northern Ireland Bat Group or staff of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA). Licensed bat experts will offer advice and collect sick and injured bats.

For advice on:

  • injured bats
  • bats in rooms
  • bats discovered during building or tree works
  • any other bat related enquiry

please contact a member of CEDaR staff during office hours (Monday– Friday)

Outside office hours, please contact a member of the Northern Ireland Bat Group (volunteers). Please note that the Northern Ireland Bat Group is a voluntary organisation:

Frequently asked questions

I have found a bat in a room of my house.

Use a glove or a cloth. Lift the bat, take it outside and hang it, head down, as high as you can comfortably manage, on a wall or tree. Ideally, it’s best to put the bat out at dusk or later, as it is less likely to come to the attention of crows, cats, youngsters, etc. If you have to put it out in daylight, choose somewhere that is secluded and/or sheltered.

Over the last few days, I’ve found a couple of bats in my house.

This is more likely to happen in July or August when young bats start flying and would appear to get ‘lost’ on returning to their roost. Let the bat settle and then, using a glove or cloth, lift it and hang it up outside.

How do I know if a bat is a baby or adult?

Bats are born mainly towards the end of May in to June, with some late arrivals in early July. They have no fur and their eyes are shut. Their eyes open at about 10 days, and they have a covering of short brown-grey fur. Bats found outside of this May-July window will be independent juveniles or adults.

What can I do with a baby bat that I found on the ground/clinging to the wall or in the house?

Baby bats are totally dependent on their mother’s milk for the first few weeks. Therefore, the best thing to do is to hang the bat up on the wall as close to the roost entrance as is safe for you to reach. Hopefully, the young one will make its way back into the roost or its mother will retrieve it.

I have found what would appear to be a sick bat – what do I do?

Take it to your local vet. The problem may be as simple as dehydration, easily remedied by the vet. Holes in the wing membranes suggest that the bat has been caught by a cat and this is a more serious problem. The bat needs to be cared for by an experienced bat person until it is ready for release.

I have a bat roost, but I need to carry out some roof repairs?

In all instances where work has to be carried out in or around a bat roost, permission must be obtained from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA). This requires a home visit to check, if possible, how the work is likely to affect the roost and/or roost access and to advise on how to proceed. Ideally, it is preferable if the work can be carried out when the bats have left or, at least, when all bats are flying.

There is a proposal to develop an area where I see bats regularly flying?

Developers have a legal duty to have an Environmental Impact Assessment carried out prior to the start of work. This is especially true where it is suspected that protected species may exist. Bats and their roosts have full legal protection. Therefore the local planning department must be made aware of the possible presence of a bat roost, and should take appropriate action, such as requiring that a bat survey be carried out.

I’m taking slates off a roof and have found a bat – what do I do?

If at all possible, stop the work and contact NIEA + 44 (0) 28 9056 9602 for advice on how to proceed. From mid-May to mid-July there is the potential for dependent baby bats to be abandoned when the more mature bats fly off. It is, therefore, important that the situation is assessed, as soon as possible, by an experienced bat person. Outside of this period, the need is not so urgent, but a visit is still advised.

Bats and the law: the Wildlife (NI) Order 1985 – a brief guide

What you CAN do:

carefully release a bat from the living area of a building (using a glove or a cloth); care for a sick or injured bat so that it can be released when it recovers; kill a seriously injured bat that has no reasonable chance of being released (most people would probably take it to a vet for professional help).

What you CANNOT do:

intentionally kill, injure or handle a bat of any species; keep a bat, whether alive or dead (unless obtained legally); disturb a bat while it is roosting; damage, destroy or obstruct a bat roost, whether the bats are present or not.