Bat rescued from Uckfield restaurant

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AN UNINVITED dinner guest, who refused to leave, had to be evicted from the Luna Restaurant in Uckfield High Street late last Thursday evening.

A brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus) flew in through the open shop door above diners’ heads before circling round and flying into a glass atrium 20 feet up in the roof.

Staff at the restaurant turned lights off to try to encourage the bat out, but this didn’t work so they called East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) to help rescue the creature which is not more than 6cm long and weighs about 10grams, with massive unfolding ears.

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 rescue attempt was going to drive me batty.

“It was too high for our normal poles so we strapped a small net and pole to the end of our extending swan hook which was then long enough to reach the bat.”

First attempts failed as the bat flew in circles but after trying for ten minutes and the bat realising mealworms were not on the restaurant menu, Trevor managed to catch and lower it to the ground.

He’s been trained by the Sussex Bat Group and the Sussex Bat Hospital and was vaccinated against rabies in case of the rare chance of being bitten. People should not handle bats without seeking advice or wearing suitable gloves. The bat was in good condition and flying strongly so Kathy released it outside where it flew over the building. Trevor said: “He was in very good condition and it was a privilege to see him fly off back to the wild. Good to know they’re in Uckfield too.”