Bats Seek Shelter in Zagreb Hospitals and Apartments

By 27 August 2018

In addition to patients, bats can increasingly be seen in hospitals in Zagreb.

They have dehydrated a little bit, but soon we will release them from the recovery facility, said Jadranko Boras, a veterinarian from the Zagreb Zoo, who recently saved a group of bats from the Trauma Clinic, reports Večernji List on August 27, 2018.

From the ceiling of one of the hospital rooms, he and his colleagues removed nine tiny creatures that most likely entered while following a group of insects and then found refuge in the warm room, hidden behind the lights. After that drama was over, the rescuers had to return to the clinic once again yesterday, after it turned out another bat had decided to rest on a telephone line connection near an operating room.

“This is not the first time for our team to come to the Trauma Clinic to save some bats, but after a protective net is placed, we will probably not return to that address anymore,” said Damir Skok, the director of the Zagreb ZOO, for whom the rescue operation was probably the best possible advertisement for the traditional celebration of the International Bat Night at the ZOO.

He explained that bats in Croatia are legally protected animals and that, during their relocation, they must always be very cautious. “On the one hand, we have protected and sensitive animals and, on the other hand, inaccessible locations where they hide. That is why our field team uses ladders, nets, tweezers and the like,” added Skok, pointing out that they have at least 1,500 rescue interventions a year with wild animals as main stars.

Bats are some of the most frequent reasons for their interventions. They have been rescued from the Transfusion Department at Petrova Street, as well as from other Zagreb hospitals and many apartments. After a recent storm, they found as many as 40 of them on a balcony in an apartment building in the Siget neighbourhood.

Other exotic creatures they have rescued are a beaver who was spotted in Zapruđe neighbourhood, and a lynx which has been monitored with a transmitter. In recent days, in addition to stray dogs, they mostly deal with reports of snakes in Zagreb and the surroundings. “We catch snakes every day, but unlike last year, we have not yet caught any of the poisonous ones,” said Skok.

When it comes to bats, who are some of the least known and the most endangered mammal species, citizens most often report sightings of very small pipistrelle bats, which are the ones which were found at Trauma, and their somewhat larger relatives – the common noctule bats. Both types are harmless, with the only difference being that noctule bats are much louder and like to fly in larger groups.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Jolanda Rak Šajn).