Helen

We’re just batty about Merri!

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Update on the rare bat rescued in Somerset

RSPCA wildlife assistant India Long, who’s caring for a grey long-eared bat, called Merri, at West Hatch Wildlife Centre, says: “It’s really hard to tell grey long-eared bats from brown long-eared bats – which are much more common.

“But I’ve spoken to lots of different bat experts and they all think she’s a grey.”  

Poo sample

“We’ve sent a sample of her poo off for testing so we can be sure! Then, we can be totally confident that we are giving her the best possible care.”

India will carry on looking after Merri for a while, then she will start working with the Somerset Bat Group on how and when to release the tiny, rare mammal.

Merri’s doing a little better now, but isn’t at full health yet,” says India. “I really hope we are able to get her back to full health so we can release her back into the wild, where she belongs.”

Bat stats

So far this year, the RSPCA has taken in 163 bats who had been found grounded, injured, tangled in netting or having been attacked by another animal. Merri is the only grey long-eared bat taken in by the RSPCA in 2017, with most rescues involving common pipistrelle bats (109) and 19 rescues of Merri’s close lookalikes– the brown long-eared bat.

Some bat facts for you:
  • Grey long-eared bat colonies are only found in Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Somerset and Sussex in England
  • Their ears are nearly as long as their body but aren’t always obvious – when resting they curl their ears back or tuck them away under their wings!
  • They eat moths, small beetles and crane flies
  • They emerge at night and forage in open spaces, catching prey in flight.

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