The South Wales Bat Hospital started in 2003, with just Erica Dixon rehabilitating small numbers of bats. There were virtually no bat carers in South Wales and most injured and orphaned baby bats were taken to a vets to be put to sleep. Erica's husband Hugh joined her in 2007 and the numbers have steadily grown. At its peak, they looked after 150 bats per year although numbers are now thankfully less due to the new bat carers in the area.    

A baby pipistrelle, approximately 5 days old

Adult pipistrelle with a splinted forearm, trying to fix a broken bone

Now thankfully, there are many bat carers and many more more new bat trainees. We offer training and mentoring to these new carers. Planning permission has recently been granted to build an outdoor flight cage – this is vitally important piece of equipment for successful bat rehabilitation, to enable baby bats, or pups to learn to fly and catch food before they are eventually released, to enable adult bats that came in with injuries to fly to regain stamina before release and for us to test-fly bats to make sure they are ready for release.

Until recently, the importance of a flight cage not fully understood; until in 2011, the West Yorkshire Bat Hospital proved that hand-reared pups were capable of surviving after release. We now know that these bats not only survive but are capable of going on to breed. We are currently operating with the best that we have, but we know that a flight cage will really improve our bats chances.

                                                                           

It will be a turning point for bats in Wales. There are currently only 6 flight cages in existence in the UK – this will be the first of its kind in Wales, using a brand new technique for bat cages, made by a local firm.

The sole aim of the hospital is the successful rehabilitation and release of bats. The hospital operates with a Euthanasia policy for those bats whose injuries are too severe. However, some bats coming into care will survive with non-painful injuries and a small number of these will be kept as permanent captive bats, for training and education purposes. These bats are used for new trainees to learn how to handle bats and diagnose injuries, and these bats are our stars – we undertake walks, talks and education events and our attendees get to meet our residents. In this respect, we look forward to working with Rudry and Machen Primary Schools in helping to deliver a wildlife training session, using our bats.


Ben: A male daubentons bat with muscle damage (resident for 7 years)


The SWBH is a non-profit making charity and is not a sanctuary (although we will keep small numbers of permanent captive bats). We do not intentionally breed the bats in our care although frequently females that come to us with injuries are pregnant and with give birth in captivity.

The South Wales Bat Hospital, as well as being a long time in the pipeline, is a truly regional project. It is the combined efforts of 4 local bat groups and other financial supporters including the DWR Community Council . We also have the support of the Bat Conservation Trust, and Valley Vets who provide our veterinary support.