Twelve baby bats suffering from overheating have been rescued after they crawled out of a loft during the recent surge in temperatures.
The tiny pipistrelle bats, just three weeks old, were found in an airing cupboard, clinging to walls and inside a curtain after they had fled their roost in the roof of a house in Taunton, Somerset on Wednesday, 25 July.
One had sadly died, but eight were taken to RSPCA West Hatch Wildlife Centre where they are being intensively hand-weaned.
Over the next couple of days four more baby bats were found and rescued from the same home.
It is thought the bats may have been forced to escape the loft when the temperatures suddenly soared.
RSPCA Animal Collection Officer, Alison Sparkes, who rescued the bats, said:
The poor little bats probably thought the roof was cool enough in recent weather, then got a shock this week when it got so hot all of a sudden.
Luckily for them the home owners left the loft hatch open, so they could make a quick escape when they found it was too much for them.
When I arrived I could see the tiny animals clinging to the walls and in the cupboard near this hatch, and one was even in the curtain lining.
Rescued and rehabilitated at West Hatch Wildlife Centre
Peter Venn, manager at West Hatch, said the young pipistrelles were all progressing well but required an awful lot of care as they are so young. They are being fed a milk substitute by syringe for up to 15 minutes per bat five times a day.
At the moment all the babies are feeding well and getting stronger. But when they are this little hand-weaning is a difficult and time-consuming process.
It could well be that the changeability of the weather this year is causing problems for bats, we certainly have more in at the centre than we have had before.
We always think of the danger cold weather poses to wildlife – but hot, wet and changeable weather all has its effect too.