Trevor’s Week - September 21, 2011: Advice on handling bats

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THERE have been quite a few bats in need of rescue over the past few weeks.

Sadly one lady was bitten by one last week whilst trying to catch it.

Luckily it was only a pipistrelle and therefore highly unlikely to cause any problems, but some of the large bats which can fly across the English Channel can carry rabies.

If you find a bat, please do not touch unless in immediate danger. If you have to touch one then please ensure you are wearing gloves to avoid being bitten. Very few bats have ever been found in the UK with rabies so the risk is small, but unfortunately protocols put in place by the Government could lead to the bat, which you are trying to help rescue, being destroyed in case it has rabies.

We had another call about a deer caught in stock fencing at Sharpthorne in West Sussex. We think she may have been a late baby fallow deer from last year. When we arrived, the finder told us the deer was very calm but when we looked she was hyperventilating and in severe pain.

Emergency medication had to be given, and we discovered a nasty injury to one of the rear legs – the hock joint was pulled apart and there were lacerations down the leg. The bruising around the rear of the deer was very extensive and had attracted flies which had laid thousands of eggs, many of which had hatched and were heading inside the poor creature’s body.

After medication was given, the deer had to be rushed to the vets where it sadly had to be euthanased. It may have been possible to amputate the leg but the internal maggots were a big problem. This has to be one of the most horrendous deer casualties I have ever dealt with.

We have a gull in care at the moment which had to be rescued from the mesh at Hampden Park lake. The tip of the gull’s wing had gone through one of the holes in the mesh quite high up. The bird also has a chest infection which is being treated and hopefully he’ll make a full recovery.

Tony rescued a Canada Goose out of the water feature at the English Wine Centre at Alfriston last week. The poor bird had a fractured wing and has gone up to the Swan Sanctuary at Shepperton for their specialist veterinary staff to attempt to repair it. Tony also helped rescue several hedgehogs, a road casualty gull, a concussed blackbird in Hailsham and a fox.

We would like to thank Pets at Home at Newhaven for donating £120 worth of cages, which will come in very handy for the autumn and winter orphan hedgehog seasons.

The nights have certainly started getting colder. We have known hedgehogs start to hibernate from the end of September onwards. Some seem quite happy to hibernate all winter, whereas others only hibernate for short periods of time.

Last autumn and winter was quite warm, which encouraged hedgehogs to give birth very late in the year. As a result we have a very high number of hedgehogs which were abandoned by their hibernating mums.

By the end of October, hedgehogs should be about 600 grams. If you find one weighing between 500–600g then with a bit of supportive care they should be ok, but if they are less than 500g it will need to come in for a full check-up and observations.

As mentioned last week, WRAS supporter Sylvia Harrison is opening her home and garden on Saturday (September 24), at 42 Marine Drive, Bishopstone, to raise funds for WRAS.It runs between 11.30am and 5pm. Ploughman’s lunches, coffee & cake, afternoon teas, a raffle, books and other stalls will be on offer all in aid of WRAS so please come along and support the event. That same weekend WRAS will be collecting vital funds at Newhaven Sainsbury’s.

Volunteers have been busy this week doing additional work at the Casualty Centre. Our new food storage area has been completed thanks to Les’s DIY skills, and the new electrics for the daylight, red light and night light bulbs in our large pens have been done by volunteer Paul, as well as the outside security lights too. Paul’s wife and daughter have also continued with the painting of the beams in the new education area which Carrie and I started last week so a big thank you to all our hard working volunteers who are doing a great job.

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East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service is a voluntary organisation which relies on donations, receiving no funding from government or the RSPCA. Anyone wishing to make a donation should contact the treasurer at PO Box 2148, Seaford, BN25 9DE. 24-hour rescue line: 07815 078234 www.wildlifeambulance.org