Bats flying into homes a common phenomenon in Singapore
Wildlife rescue group Acres receives four to five reports a week of bats getting stranded in housing estates
Ms Tan Yilin has moved three times - from Yishun to Yio Chua Kang then to Sembawang - and each time, bats have flown into her home.
The make-up artist, 24, said: "I usually try to steer the bats to the window or balcony so they can fly out."
Last Saturday, she found a bat nestled underneath a patio umbrella on her balcony. She clapped her hands loudly to scare it off.
She said: "I am used to the bats by now."
Bats flying into homes is a common occurrence in Singapore.
On average, wildlife rescue group Acres receives four to five reports a week of bats flying into homes or getting stranded elsewhere in housing estates, at void decks or covered walkways.
Acres deputy chief executive Kalai Vanan Balakrishnan, 31, told The New Paper that highly urbanised landscapes and green spaces like rooftop gardens have given rise to such cases.
According to Dr Benjamin Lee, director of the National Parks Board (NParks), there are at least 25 species of bats in Singapore that roost in natural and man-made habitats.
These habitats range from fallen logs, trees and bamboo hollows to the underside of bridges, culverts, buildings and abandoned bunkers.
Mr Kalai said the two species that commonly roost in housing estates are the lesser dog-faced fruit bat and insectivorous whiskered bat.
These nocturnal creatures usually fly into homes at night and are discovered in the day.
They may climb onto furniture and curtains or get stranded on the ground because they cannot take off from there.
Bats are also found in places with fruit trees.
Mr Lim Keng Tiong, 75, told TNP that more than 10 bats fly around the Punggol Coral resident's committee garden at night.
The volunteer, who grows more than five types of fruit trees in the garden, said the bats feed on the fruits.
Mr Lim said: "There is nothing much I can do about it. At least they are not dangerous."
At the Halia restaurant in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, bats add to the experience.
Restaurant manager Mae Paguirigan, 31, said: "Once or twice a month, a few fruit bats fly into the restaurant, but customers are okay with it."
If you find a bat at home and do not know how to handle it, call the 24-hour Acres hotline at 9783-7782.
What to do when a bat is indoors
According to a spokesman from Acres, a bat found indoors is usually disorientated and has problems escaping.
- Do not handle the bat with your bare hands. If you must, gather the bat up with a towel. Even though bats are not aggressive, they may bite in self-defence. If bitten, seek medical consultation.
- Turn off all interior lights and open all windows and doors leading outdoors.
- If a bat is unable to escape, wait for the bat to land and cover it with a box. Gently ease the bat into the box and release it outdoors at night.
- When releasing a bat outdoors, wait till nightfall to release the bat as they are nocturnal animals.
- Some bats cannot take off from the ground. If the bat is in a box, hold the box aloft and tilt gently to the side. Or hold the box against a tree branch until the bat clings onto the bark.
- ANG TIAN TIAN