The swooping silhouettes that roam free at night also need tender loving care when they’re feeling down and out.
And after 28 years of nursing injured bats back to full health, Maggie Brown, who lives in Otley, is more than happy to wrap them up in cotton wool to get them back on their feet.
The retired teacher, 66, has become one of the nation’s leading bat conservationists, having rescued hundreds of animals through the West Yorkshire Bat Hospital which she runs out of her shed.
Her work has not gone unnoticed and she was honoured for her outstanding voluntary contribution to bat preservation at the Bat Conservation Trust’s (BCT) National Bat Conference in Warwick.
She said: “I was completely surprised, there are lots of people like me about the country spending lots of time doing various different things to conserve bats.”
She started helping the animals when a neighbour brought an injured bat to her house nearly three decades ago.
Currently nursing more than a dozen bats back to full health, she also organises training and workshops on bat care and has written the Bat Care Manual.
Numbers of British bats have declined steeply in the last century due to changes in farming techniques and urban and rural development.