How to Create Nursery Colony Pup Catchers

Insectivorous bats have their babies (pups) during the summer months. Maternity roosts sometimes encounter problems at this time, including overheating and overcrowding. This results in pups falling from the roost and onto the ground. Once grounded, these pups are often too heavy for their mothers to retrieve them. In large roosts, dozens of healthy pups will fall and ultimately die from starvation and/or predators. Having a pup catcher in place allows falling pups to land safely in net pocket and then climb back up to the roost on their own. If a pup is orphaned or injured, a pup catcher can allow a bat rescuer to retrieve the pup and give the baby the assistance he/she needs.

Creating pup catchers is a simple and relatively inexpensive process that can save countless lives each year. Points to remember:

* Bat house pup catchers can be made from soft, fiberglass window screen

* Bat house pup catchers should extend at least 2′ below the bat house to not impede flighted bats

* A pocket/loose hem can be created using zip ties on both sides of the screen

* Mesh for large roosts can be ordered from Industrial Netting, product OV7100 (call to request smaller amounts)

* The top of the mesh should be stapled or screwed into place, do not use tape, glue or silicone, which can harm bats

* When possible, extend the net out from the straight down position to an angled position for additional safety

* On large roosts, the net should extend down 4′ to 6′ under the roost, but should not touch the ground

Pup Catcher under a Bat House

Pup Catcher under a Large Nursery Colony

This video shows a modified version of our pup catcher. Clothes pins will work temporarily but should be replaced by zip ties at some point.

The video above shows a large pup catcher net placed inside our wild sanctuary building. During the summer months. temperatures would reach 100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. During this time, both pups and adults would move from the rafters to the net below in order to feel the breeze of fans placed there for their comfort.