Bats and the law

Bats are protected in the Isle of Man under the Wildlife Act 1990. The Act gives protection to all species of Manx bats. It is against the law to kill or harm any bat or to destroy or damage any place a bat uses as its shelter, whether the bat is there or not.

Because bats congregate in breeding roosts in summer and in hibernation sites in winter they are particularly vulnerable to disturbance in or around their roosts.

Bats roosting in houses do no damage to the property but are very susceptible to harm, especially from poisons used to deter real pests. Bats have therefore been given special protection and the law applies to bats in houses other than the living areas of a dwelling. In order to avoid the possibility of committing an offence under the Act, if you know you have bats in your house you must consult DEFA (Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture) for advice BEFORE you undertake repairs or improvements to your property that might affect the bats or their roost.

In general it is also an offence to buy, sell or keep any bat, alive or dead. However, if you find an injured or grounded bat you are permitted to care for it, provided that it can be released back into the wild when better. You are not permitted to keep a bat that has no prospect of being released without a licence from DEFA.

Bat helpline

We recommend that you seek more experienced help as soon as possible. Manx Bat Group members have experience in handling and caring for bats and can be reached via the Bat helpline on 366177. If you find a dead bat please also report this to the Bat Helpline so that it may be identified and recorded.