AN UNINVITED DINNER guest refused to leave a restaurant in Uckfield - and had to be evicted.
The brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus) swooped in through the open door of the Luna Restaurant in Uckfield High Street at 11pm last night, September 29.
Guests watched as the baffled bat circled round and round trying to work out its location. It ended up into a glass atrium more than 20ft up in the roof interior.
Restaurant staff turned lights off to encourage the 6cm long bat to leave. But he was enjoying the restaurant atmosphere and refused to budge.
East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) were called to the scene.
WRAS founder Trevor Weeks, from Uckfield, attended with his partner and fellow WRAS volunteer Kathy Martyn.
He said: “I knew from the start that this was potentially going to drive me batty trying to catch this little creature.
“It was too high up for our normal extending poles so strapped a small net and pole to the end of our extending swan hook, which was then long enough to reach the bat.”
Mr Weeks managed to catch the bat in a net after it flew round in circles to avoid capture.
Kathy Martin said the public should leave bats to professionals in case they bite.
She said: “I checked the bat over briefly but it was clearly in good condition and flying strongly.
“So I took the bat outside and when the High street was clear, I released him where he flew back towards the restaurant and then up and over the building and around the chimney.
“All too often we see nasty cat-attacked bats, or those which have been trapped in buildings for several days.
“And which have become very dehydrated and underweight and are clearly not well.
“But this little chap was in very good condition.”
Mr Weeks added: “It was a privilege to see him fly off back to the wild as well as being good to know we have then in Uckfield too.”