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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The post-release fate of hand-reared orphaned bats: survival and habitat selection

Published source details

Serangeli M.T., Cistrone L., Ancillotto L., Tomassini A. & Russo D. (2012) The post-release fate of hand-reared orphaned bats: survival and habitat selection. Animal Welfare, 21, 9-18


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Rehabilitate injured/orphaned bats to maintain wild bat populations Bat Conservation

A study in 2008–2009 in a rural area of central Italy (Serangeli et al. 2012) found that 19 of 21 hand-reared Kuhl’s pipistrelle bats Pipistrellus kuhlii survived for at least 4–14 days after release into the wild, and six joined wild Kuhl’s pipistrelle colonies. Six of the 19 bats joined two wild Kuhl’s pipistrelle colonies roosting in nearby buildings. Another six roosted in buildings previously unoccupied by bats, and seven continued to roost in two bat boxes used for release. Two bats could not be tracked as contact was lost with their radio tags within two days of release. Thirty-seven orphaned newborn bats (18 in 2008, 19 in 2009) were reared in heated boxes and fed powdered milk. At 3–4 weeks old, bats were weaned with mealworms and moved to a flight room (8 x 5 x 3 m) with four bat boxes. After 12 days in the flight room, bats able to fly continuously for ≥10 minutes on one night were selected for release. Twenty-one bats (11 in 2008, 10 in 2009) were fitted with radio tags and released 1 h before sunset in the same region they came from. Two bat boxes from the flight room were hung on trees at the release site. Radio-tracking was carried out over 14 nights after bats were released in 2008 and 2009.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)