Updated: Apr 7
With the warmer weather the bats are starting to emerge. There are 18 types of bats here in the uk, some so small they weigh no more than a penny and some with large ears that can hear an ant walking on a leaf! These flying mammals negotiate their world by echolocation. I am lucky enough to have bats here in my garden and enjoy watching them acrobat through the air at dusk. Bats are excellent at pest control picking off the mosquitoes and other bugs out of the air, some bats can eat up to 3000 insects a night.
Female bats tend to give birth around June. Once they are pregnant the females create a maternity roost within the colony and only give birth to one pup at a time. It is at least 6 weeks before the pup can fly so relies on mums milk until then and bats can live up to 30 years old.
Bats are great indicators to a change in the environment. They will be present where insects are abundant and allowed to grow to full maturity. Loss of habitat has caused a loss of mature insects, therefore a loss of bat species. Other threats to bats are cats, artificial lights and sticky fly tape amongst other things. For these reasons, bats are on the vulnerable or endangered list, so need all the help they can get! We can help in our gardens by leaving wild areas and creating a pond. These things encourage insects, which in turn attract bats. Another thing is to buy or make a bat roosting box. See the link on how to make a bat box. https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-build-bat-box
These are fascinating creatures and if you ever get the chance to use a bat detector the sound of their echolocation can be picked up and depending what frequency the sound is heard at determines the type of bat while allowing us into another world which would normally go unnoticed.