Soprano pipistrelle out of its depth

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Sometimes being an ecologist can lead to some interesting situations, even whilst on holiday as Aaron Grainger, Senior Ecologist at our London office recently found out.

“I recently visited Andalucía in Spain, assuming that I would be getting a break from looking after animals, but when another guest staying at our B&B reported that a bat had been found in the swimming pool, of course I leapt into action! Luckily one of the staff had just retrieved the bat from the pool using a nearby net. On closer inspection, I identified the bat as a Soprano pipistrelle, a species found throughout Europe and commonly encountered in the UK. Swimming Pool

The poor bat had obviously accidentally fallen into the water whilst trying to catch an insect on or near the surface. I think this must have happened on one of its last flights of the night, as it was pretty light outside at that time. Fortunately for the bat, we were up very early and were able to rescue it in the nick of time.

I needed to explain to the other guests and the owners of our B&B that the bat was harmless to humans and only ate insects, which they were pleased to hear! The owners explained that in fact there was a roost present under the roof tiles on the main part of the building, and this was where the bat was likely to have come from.

After being placed in shoe box with some water and in a cool room with a stable temperature (the outside temperature was 35C +!), the bat quickly dried out and began to recover. In between sipping my beer and reading my book by the pool, I regularly checked on the bat’s progress. It seemed to make a speedy recovery and by the time dusk approached, it was very active and raring to take to the wing. After a few final checks, we waited for the light levels to subside and released the bat who flew straight off in the opposite direction of the swimming pool!

View

The Soprano pipistrelle is one of the most commonly encountered species when I undertake bat surveys in the UK, but Andalucía had some more spectacular wildlife to offer. I was lucky enough to watch both golden and booted eagles soaring above the Sierra De Tejeda National Park and a flock of bee-eaters were regular visitors to our holiday spot. I thoroughly recommend a visit.”

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