Meat Loaf flies away like bat out of hell after National Highways rescue

Ready now for a fang-tastic summer: Meat Loaf the bat

This little bat has been to hell and back – but fought back to recover after National Highways came to her rescue.

The female whiskered bat, known as Meat Loaf, was found grounded by a maintenance manager at the National Highways Carrville Depot off the A1M near Durham. She had fallen foul of the recent hot weather and was suffering from dehydration.

But quick-thinking Craig Heywood, from contractor CHC Highways, sent the signal for help to the National Highways environment team – and after receiving two nights of care, she was gone before the morning came.

Georgina Page, National Highways Environment Team Manager for the North East, explained:

“She was out in the open only a foot off the ground and was unable to fly. She then fell off the wall and was struggling. Our CHC Highways maintenance manager placed her in a shoe box with some tissue and a small milk bottle lid of water to help her rehydrate, and left her at the traffic officer outstation.

“I then called the Bat Conservation Trust helpline who identified a bat carer in the area who could come and collect them. They were there within an hour and took the bat to care for her. We’re hopeful she was just dehydrated from the warmer weather we’ve had recently, and after a couple of days in care rehydrating and being fed, she was released back into the wild around Carrville.”

Meat Loaf was identified as a female whiskered bat. Georgina said: “They are not as common as the usual species we see, such as common pipistrelles.”

She added that should people find grounded bats suffering from the heat, they should not attempt to rehabilitate them themselves and the people handling the bat were appropriately trained and vaccinated. She said: “Bats should not be handled without gloves and only in emergency situations.”

If you find an injured or grounded bat you should call the National Bat Helpline, run by the Bat Conservation Trust.

Dr Joe Nunez-Mino, Director of Communications & Fundraising at the Trust, said:

“The National Bat Helpline helps thousands of bats that get into trouble every year. The helpline is only possible thanks to the generosity of our donors as well as the trained volunteers who answer the bat care calls and the volunteer bat rehabilitators.

“It is good to hear that the advice on our website was followed and this bat received the help it needed. Bats should only be handled by trained and appropriately vaccinated bat carers like those we work with on the bat care network. In an emergency, if you have to contain a bat you should always wear gloves due to the small risk of rabies transmission.”

Contact 0345 1300 228 to arrange for a bat carer to safely collect the bat and rehabilitate it for release. You can also visit

National Highways works with a number of partner groups and agencies when animals are found alongside its road network, and the protection of wildlife species and their habitats is paramount in a lot of its work – from the planning of improvement and maintenance schemes to the design of major infrastructure projects.

As well as supporting the public on the nation’s motorways and major A-roads, National Highways is frequently called to animal rescues. For example, traffic officer Lukas Cadman rescued Boris Swan-son, a cygnet, from the hard shoulder of the M18 in November. Officers also picked up Smudge the kitten from a central reservation on the M18 northbound near Doncaster in July.

Author: National Highways
Disclaimer: This article was not originally written by a member of the team.

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