Lily Passel, one of our operators at our Kings Sombourne Wastewater Treatment Works in Hampshire, found something entirely unexpected when she went on a break first thing on Monday morning; she spotted four baby bats (pups) in various places around the room - including on the floor!
This was despite the windows and doors being kept closed. To keep the pups safe and prevent them from getting injured, Lily used gloves to carefully place them in a large box lined with a towel and gave them a small cap of water to drink from.
She then contacted Ashley Collingwood-Dane, our Environmental Adviser for Hampshire & Isle of Wight, who then alerted our in-house wildlife experts and got in touch with Tim, a local volunteer from the Hampshire Bat Group.
Tim was met by Lily at site to assess the baby bats’ health and set about trying to discover how they got into the break room. He detected some noise and eventually found a five-six inch gap behind an overhanging wooden fascia, which he thought was most likely to be to the bats’ roost. He believed there were possibly anywhere up to 200 bats and 50 pups using the roost.
After taking care of the bats for the day, Tim returned to site with them close to sunset, this time helped by operator James Palmer, to check the adults were actually using the roost. Once he was happy this was the case, he helped the pups climb up the bricks at the suspected entry point, where he finally saw the adults emerge.
Our Hampshire team were keen to do additional support work for bats and have since bought bat boxes as advised by Nick Ellis, a licensed bat specialist from our in-house team of ecologists. They plan to install them at the best locations across our sites in Hampshire, following advice and guidance from Nick and the Hampshire Bat Group.
Our Operations and Facilities teams have now closed the ceiling gap in order to prevent any more baby bats from wandering into the break room again. It’s a tricky job as any holes must be blocked from the inside rather than the outside – which is against the law – and the work must be overseen by a trained bat handler, like Nick, who can advise on best practice and what’s permitted near the protected species.
If you find any trapped or injured bats, please call The Bats Conservation Trust Bat Helpline on 0345 1300 228 for advice and guidance.