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Bat in Shilton Church

David R writes:

Jean found what looked like a dead bat on the carpet near the vestry when she opened our church in Shilton at 10 a.m. yesterday, 22 September.

She picked it up, brought it home, and showed it to me and Paul, our gardener, who stroked it. It moved, opened its eyes and mouth, and squeaked. We took it back to the church and put it in the squint (an opening from the south aisle into the chancel).

I don’t know what species it was. We have pipistrelles in the village as some time ago I have seen them flying around the light at the end of my drive and the street light at the bottom of the church path. We had a bat survey done recently by a young lady from the “Local Nature Recovery Strategy Team, Strategy and Government Advice”. She was going around lots of local churches but was not a bat expert. The survey was a general one and not aimed at identifying the species. We have not had a report back yet but it was more angled at if the bats were a nuisance, and what we thought about them.

We have had evidence of bats in the church for as long as I can remember. There are not many but their droppings are found in the church by the ladies who do the cleaning, mostly in a particular area. I like having them there and they are no particular nuisance to us in the small numbers we have. I have heard of some churches where they are in numbers that can cause quite a problem but of course they’re protected.

When Jean locked the church at 4 p.m. it had gone.