The RSPCA is urging people to dispose of angling litter properly after a bat suffered a serious injury when he got a fishing hook impaled through his face.

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The daubenton’s bat was found with horrific injuries to his face at Branston Golf and Country Club, in Burton-on-Trent, on Wednesday last week (23 August).

A member of the public contacted the RSPCA after finding the bat dangling on fishing line from a tree.

He was collected by an RSPCA officer and taken to the charity’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Nantwich, Cheshire.

On examination, it was found that the hook had gone through his cheek, impaled his tongue and exited through the other side of his face.

Sadly his injuries were so severe that he was put to sleep to prevent further suffering.

Lee Stewart, manager of the wildlife centre, said: “It is likely that he got this embedded in his face after possibly swooping for a maggot that may have been attached to the hook. I imagine he would have suffered terribly and would have been and in a great deal of pain.

“Frustratingly, this could have been so easily avoided if the fishing litter had been disposed of correctly. Sadly we see all too many incidents of wildlife suffering because of discarded hooks and fishing line.

“Most anglers do make an effort to retrieve and take home their fishing line and tackle but some are not so careful, which result in incidents like this.

“We urge people to think twice and please dispose of them correctly, as hooks and lines can cause horrific injuries to wildlife. With a little more thought and care, an animal’s life could be saved.”

For more information about disposing of fishing litter properly please visit www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/litter/fishing.

Top tips include:

● Take unwanted fishing line home and cut it into pieces before putting in the bin.

● Be aware of surrounding trees – discarded line caught in foliage causes problems for wildlife.

● Don’t leave bait unattended – always remove from the hook and put in safe place.

● Use a bait box.

● Dispose of any litter you see, even if it’s not your own.

If anyone finds an injured bat or has any concern about wildlife they come across, we advise you to call us on 0300 1234 999, or another animal welfare charity such as the Bat Conservation Trust, for advice.

The RSPCA is a charity relies on public donations to exist. Anyone who would like to support the vital work of Stapeley Grange can text RSPCA2 to 70007. Texts cost £3 + standard network rate.