BUND Fledermauszentrum Hannover
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Chimneys Fireplaces Stoves


Fireplaces stoves chimneys as a death trap

In Winter many bats are looking for the warmness of the chimney. Unfortunately, the search for the warmness sometimes ends up by falling into the chimney where the bats are trapped and have no way out. The animals fall in and burn painfully. Tip: Please bring a tight-fitting mesh over the chimney opening, so you not only protect bats, but also birds. Maybe the chimney sweeper helps you fixing the mesh. The loops should not be bigger than 0,2 - 0,4 inch, otherwise bats can fall through it. And please look often into the chimney if a bat is inside.


Between the firewood in the stacks of wood bats like to find a lodging. 

Our tip: Please carefully remove the wood and look carefully to see if a bat is on the firewood. 

Accident when re-laying the firewood

Das Foto zeigt eine Fledermaus mit Hinterbeinschiene, die beim Umstapeln eines Kaminholzstapels verletzt wurde. // The photo shows a bat with a hind leg splint injured while stacking a firewood stack. Fledermaus mit Hinterbeinschiene // Bat with hind leg splint  (Dr. Renate Keil / www.bund-fledermauszentrum-hannover.de)

Shifting a stack of firewood was a fatality to a female coot, but despite a broken hind leg, she was lucky enough not to be crushed. A specially designed adhesive bar to stabilize the leg, painkillers and additional laser irradiation of the fracture contribute to healing. 

Rescue from the fireplace

Das Bild zeigt eine Fledermaus voll Ruß, die aus einem Kamin gerettet wurde. // The picture shows a bat full of soot being rescued from a chimney. Fledermaus voll Ruß // Bat full of soot  (Dr. Renate Keil / www.bund-fledermauszentrum-hannover.de)

This Pipistrellus pipistrellus was rescued fully covered with smut from a fireplace. Several baths were necessary to clean her from the smut particles. (Note: the treatment was done without gloves because it would not have been possible to do that with gloves) 

At the last second!

Das Foto zeigt eine Fledermaus voll Ruß, die aus einem Schornstein in letzter Sekunde gerettet wurde. // The photo shows a bat full of soot, which was rescued from a chimney. Fledermaus aus einem Schornstein voll Ruß // Bat from a chimney full of soot  (Dr. Renate Keil / www.bund-fledermauszentrum-hannover.de)

But one case was particularly dramatic. On 3.10.12 a bat was brought, whose finder reported the following: She had recently infected her stove every day, also on this day first cleaned and then lit the fire again. Seeing after a few minutes, if it was also approached, she saw to her horror a bat, which moved in the burning stove in front of the disk and desperately sought an exit! Unfortunately, when the oven door was opened quickly, the little bat got its wing in between, which was severely squeezed and now completely bloodshot but at least not broken. She was covered all over with thick, black soot, which had to be removed in several washes before she swallowed it. With all the bad luck she had to look for a stovepipe, of all things, as a dark and probably still warm hiding place, she nevertheless had a tremendous luck that she was not roasted alive!

She has also survived her smoke inhalation and is now recovering slowly. She does not eat alone out of the bowl, but she can be thankfully fed. Her wing still looks bad and will continue to be treated, but she will probably be released in the spring if the muscles are not damaged too much and can regenerate over the winter. She will remain in hospital until further notice. 

Unfortunately, this is not the first case of this kind. Renate Keil a whole carton full of already dead dwarf bats from a chimney, which had apparently over a long period of time and repeatedly stammered and starved and dehydrated and some were already mummified, some just died. Therefore, the BUND wants to make an urgent request to all stove and fireplace owners: Please attach a close-fitting grille over the chimney opening, because not only bats, many birds also crash in this way. Of course, the chimney sweep is ready to put a grid over the pipe the next time you clean it, if you have prepared it. Larger than 1 cm, the mesh should not be as possible, otherwise fit through dwarf bats. Please take a look in the fireplace often, if someone is not sitting in it ...

Many bats are looking for the heat emitted by the chimney, especially in the cooler autumn. Sometimes they find an opportunity to slip through a crack between the bricks next to the chimney where they like to spend the winter. Unfortunately, the search for a warm hideaway sometimes leads to the smooth stovepipe, which does not allow it to climb and become a death trap. 

„The future should not be foreseen but made possible.“ (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)  

Das Foto zeigt eine Kleinabendseglerin mit dem Text Ich bin ein Wesen der Nacht. Hast du je an mich gedacht? Ich bin klein und unscheinbar, und bin doch so wunderbar. Kleinabendsegler Nyctalus leisleri  (Gudrun Becker / www-bund-fledermauszentrum-hannover.de)
Das Foto zeigt einen Großer Abendsegler Nyctalus noctula im Porträt // The photo shows a nyctalus noctula in profile Großer Abendsegler Nyctalus noctula  (Gudrun Becker / www-bund-fledermauszentrum-hannover.de)