Learn what to do if a bat needs help

Occasionally, overheating causes a colony to jostle for the coolest spots and pups get dislodged and fall out, or a predator gets in and causes a disruption. In ‘natural’ colony spaces, pups can climb back into the colony and reunite with mothers. However, building and bat box colonies often leave no way for fallen pups to return. If you find pups down under a known colony you can return them using a pool skimmer. If pups continue to fall, pup catchers often solve the problem.

But sometimes a mother bat does not return to the colony. Pups that are thin and dehydrated or that are found wandering are probably orphans and can be rehabilitated by trained wildlife rehabilitators.

Adult bats can get in trouble and sometimes need rescue. Grounded bats are not always sick – they get hit by cars, blown into walls, dropped by predators, get too cold or wet, get torn or broken wings, get trapped in buildings, etc., etc. If no one has been bitten and if potential rabies exposure is ruled out, injured and displaced bats can also go to qualified rehabilitators.

If you find a bat in need of help in Virginia, here are your local resources:

  • Fairfax County VA: Please call Animal Protection Police first at 703-691-2131 or call Kim O’Keefe at 703-627-9975
  • Arlington County VA: Please call Animal Welfare League of Arlington 703-931-9241; leave a message even if they are not open as calls are routed to Animal Officers immediately. Otherwise, please call Kim O’Keefe at 703-627-9975
  • We have additional help available for the Woodbridge and Stafford areas. Please leave a message with Kim O’Keefe so calls can be routed appropriately
  • Rockingham or Augusta County: please call Save Lucy Headquarters at 703-973-3157
  • Far northern Virginia: please call Wildlife Veterinary Care 540-664-9494 or Blue Ridge Wildlife Center 540-837-9000
  • Faquier, Prince William or Culpeper County: call Nikki Stamps @ 540-272-0666
  • Roanoke and surrounding areas: Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke 540-798-9836
  • In Montgomery or Prince Georges counties in Maryland: call Second Chance Wildlife Center 301-926-9453
  • In the Baltimore region in Maryland: please call Phoenix Wildlife Center 410-628-9736

For other regions in Virginia, please visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website for a list of permitted wildlife rehabilitators by county, or use the great new phone app or website from Animal Help Now.

Bat World Sanctuary maintains a national list of bat helpers; click here for more information.

Bat rescue is for adults only. Please find an adult to help with any bat. Please do not touch the bat!

Please do not handle bats with bare hands or allow children or pets access to bats or other wildlife.

Safely Containing a Bat

If you have found a bat that you think needs help and that has not bitten or scratched a person or domestic animal, please watch this video to learn how to safely contain it for transport to a wildlife rehabilitator.