In 2009, Kent Bat Group (KBG) was awarded £5,977 from the Big Lottery Fund to build a bat flight cage at Wildwood. Each year up to 100 grounded bats are brought to KBG for rehabilitation. The flight cage provides a safe space for test flying injured adult bats and orphaned pups, allowing them recover from injuries, increase stamina, and practice echolocation and insect catching skills before releasing them back to the wild. Practicing these skills prior to release has shown to increase long term survival rates of hand-reared pups.
The flight cage has a fine mesh to allow small insects such as mosquitoes and midges to enter. In addition, there is small pond to allow mosquitoes to breed and a compost bin to encourage small flies, providing natural food for the bats. A heated bat box, located at the far side of the cage, provides a roosting area.
As bats are nocturnal they will be hidden from view in the bat boxes during the daytime. However, during warm weather, you may see us test flying a bat in the flight cage during the afternoon. Bat talks, events and courses are also given by our conservation team where visitors to Wildwood are able to learn about the work of Kent Bat Group, the flight cage and bat ecology. Look out for these on Facebook page and in our courses and events programmes.
If you’ve found a grounded bat it will need urgent help. Please CLICK HERE to visit the Kent Bat Group website for further information or phone the conservation team on 01227 711471.