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Rare barbastelle bat found in Chulmleigh

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: November 08, 2012

BATTY: Ken the barbastelle bat is only one of two found in the North Devon area.

BATTY: Ken the barbastelle bat is only one of two found in the North Devon area.

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A RARE species of bat has been found in a back garden in Chulmleigh.

The baby barbastelle bat is one of only two found in the area, the first of which was reported by the Journal in September last year.

Janice Whittington, a bat handler from Bideford, recognised the rare creature as soon as she saw it due to its unmistakable appearance.

It was spotted by Catherine and John Stewart-Smith, who initially thought it was a frog.

They moved the bat out of reach of cats and dogs but a day later it still had not flown away, so was taken in by Janice.

The bat, named Ken, was underweight and malnourished so was given a diet of specially prepared meal worms and after a couple of days he began to stretch his wings and fly.

Janice said: "He's probably one of this year's babies.

"Bats need to keep up their energy levels to keep flying. If he couldn't find food or got lost in rough weather, he'd have no choice but to ground himself. And then he'd become too weak to take off again."

The bat had to be released as soon as possible in order to find his winter roost.

Ken was taken back to where he had been found and eventually flew off.

"It's so good when you get a happy ending" Janice said.

"All we can do now is wish him luck and hope that we don't see him again."

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