9

Yesterday we were outside obliterating some grass when my wife suddenly noticed something small and black in front of her mower. It was a tiny little bat!

Now, the day was quite hot and sunny and the little fella had landed straight on a freshly mowed lawn. I don't have a measure but air was probably over 27°C/80°F and there was no shade nearby. He probably fell from the rafters of the house next to him and we're certain that he couldn't have been there for more than a minute before we noticed him (or her - didn't check).

He didn't seem to be injured but instead of taking flight he was trying to crawl somewhere. I suspect that's because the sudden light and heat had scared the hell out of him. Just read that most bats can't take off from the ground. Oops.

We wanted to help him but also didn't want to touch him with bare hands. So I got an empty plastic bowl and he crawled in there. We brought him to a shady place behind a bush and then I took some pictures (below). After that I carried him around the house and released him in some dense fern that was growing there. The house and ferns were throwing shade, and he might even be able to crawl beneath the house too (not sure). I hope it was cool and moist enough there, but I couldn't think of any other place to put him. We also left a shallow dish with some water nearby, but I think he crawled in the other direction and didn't drink from it.

So my questions:

  1. Is this a baby bat or an adult? It was really tiny - could have fitted on my palm - but then mice and other such critters are tiny in general, so I don't know. As for the location - we're from Latvia and it was a rural area.
  2. Did I do the right thing to save him? If not, what should I have done? Will he be OK?

enter image description here enter image description here

4

It is indeed a bat - most of the microchiroptera (small bats - the fruit bats are the megachiroptera) are tiny - the smallest species are about 1.25 inch (35 mm) long.

There are several species of bats common in Europe, perhaps the most common is the Common Pipistrelle, which is quite small; to quote Wikipedia:

It is 3.5–5.2 cm (1.4–2.0 in) long along the head-and-body, with the tail adding 2.3–3.6 cm (0.91–1.42 in). The body mass can range from 3.5 to 8.5 g (0.12 to 0.30 oz)

I can't get much sense of the size of your bat from the photo, other than that appears to be a Prunella vulgaris flower to the right middle of the photos, which are generally ~2 cm long (0.79"), so your bat could be about 3-4 cm long. This might mean an adult Pipistrelle or perhaps a juvenile of another common species such as the Common Noctule, which are much larger than pipistrelles in general.

I think you did the right thing by transferring it to a sheltered spot, and I (not a bat expert at all) think it is about all you can do. I know some places around the world have bat rescue services, but these are usually urban rather than rural.

| improve this answer | |
  • "Not a bat expert at all" -- proceeds to list multiple species in Latin, quotes sizes and gives references :D But, seriously, thanks! :) There are not bat rescue services around here - probably because these creatures are common. I've seen them frequently even in cities, and once one of them even flew into my room (in the city). I understand that the size is hard to judge, but the 5cm is about right. As I said - would fit comfortably in the palm. The big leaf you can see in the picture is from a lilac. – Vilx- Jul 19 at 21:13
  • Worth noting that bats are protected species in the U.K., and presumably other countries too. – Darren Jul 19 at 21:26
  • It's possible they are protected here too, I don't know. But they are not a rare sight (well, if you know where and when to look). – Vilx- Jul 19 at 21:58
  • @Vilx- for sure I'm not a bat expert (currently a virologist, but I was formerly a botanist), or even from Europe - NZer here. It's amazing what a little bit of google-fu will do for getting decent information. – bob1 Jul 19 at 22:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.