A bat carer, based at an RSPCA wildlife centre, has found that even the most severe tears down the wing can heal themselves if the animal is given basic loving care.

A bat carer, based at an RSPCA wildlife centre, has found that even the most severe tears down the wing can heal themselves if the animal is given basic loving care.

According to Sarah Goodwin, from Stapeley Grange Credit: Lee CarsonWildlife Centre, stitching and gluing a tear can cause issues when the bats remove the stitches or glue when grooming.

In light of this, Sarah decided to treat the bats coming into her care by keeping them warm, providing antibiotics and feeding them vitamin and mineral-rich food. The bats were also restricted from flight, allowing them time to rest and heal. The bats used in the Heal to Fly project had been injured in various ways, including attacks from cats. In almost all cases, Sarah found the wings had repaired themselves.

Sarah said: “I just couldn’t believe how fast the wings grew back together. It was amazing. All they needed was a bit of rest and care and their wing membranes healed all by themselves – ready for them to fly back safely into the wild.”

It took around eight weeks for the healing process to work on average. Before the bats were released back to the wild, they were given increasing flight practise to build up their strength.

It is hoped their chances of survival back in nature are equivalent to those who have not been injured, since they were all adults. Sarah said: “They already knew how to fly before and would not have lost this skill despite their time in captivity.”

Out of the nine bats admitted with severe wing tears in the past year, five have been returned to the wild, and two died from other injuries. The remaining two are still in care, but Sarah is hopeful they can be returned to the wild soon.

“We are all really excited by the results so far. They will have far reaching consequences to the way we and other bat carers care for bats and will give bats with such injuries a second chance.”

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