Bat out of reach


Pipistrelle bat held in hand with protective glove © RSPCA

A common pipistrelle bat has had a miraculous escape after getting caught in a fishing line and being left suspended over a lake for days. 

A passer-by called us for help when they saw the small mammal hanging from a hook which had become tangled in a tree at a fishing lake in Lincoln, on Tuesday, September 19.

Our inspector, Stuart Wainwright, went along to rescue the stricken bat with the help of inspectors Becky Lowe and Dan Bradshaw.

Bat thought to be stuck for four days

Stuart said:

The poor bat was thrashing around and dangling from the fishing line. He wasn’t far from the bank and was only hanging about six feet out of the water but he was just out of reach.

We needed an inflatable boat to be able to float out there, remove the hook and bring him to safety.

The trees around the lake are a little unkempt and so I believe someone had cast out their line and it had become caught in a tree.

They cut the line off the rod but the hook was left dangling from the tree and it managed to trap the poor bat as he flew past. He was caught in the hook by a flap of skin between his back and his foot, but amazingly was not injured.

We were told that the poor bat could have been there for about four days before we were called to rescue him.

He was a little dehydrated so we gave him some water before he was taken to the animal centre for care.

The adult common pipistrelle bat was taken to our Doncaster Animal Home in Bawtry and is now in the care of the Bat Conservation Trust until he can be released back into the wild where he was found.

Bats in the UK

In the UK there are a total of 18 different types of bats.

Common pipistrelle bats are the most often encountered species of bat and typically measure between 35-45 millimeters with wing spans of up to 235 millimetres. Common pipistrelles can weigh up to 8.5 grams.

They feed on a range of small flies as well as aquatic midges and mosquitoes.

These bats feed in a wide range of habitats ranging from woodland, hedgerows and grassland to farmland and suburban and urban areas.

They generally leave their roost around 20 minutes after sunset and fly around searching for their insect prey. During this time they can eat 3,000 tiny insects in one night.

See an animal in need?

If you see a bat in need contact our Emergency Line on 0300 1234 999.

See our Living with bats (PDF 594KB) factsheet for more information about living with wildlife.

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We can only rescue and rehabilitate animals with your help. If you would like to support our vital work please donate what you can online or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3

(Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message. Text to donate terms and conditions).

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