Bats have got their fame from vampire stories and Halloween but there is much more to these little creatures then meets the eye!
There are 17 breeding bat species in the UK - making up almost a third of all UK mammal species!
Bats are the world’s only true flying mammal and are nocturnal, using a special form of navigation called ‘echolocation’.
When you record their echolocation calls and slow them down they sound like bird song, almost as if they sing to manoeuvre around the night sky.
This, along with their dance-like flight over ponds and hedgerows makes them a truly graceful species to watch in the evening sun.
Just like us humans, bats squabble, chatter and flirt within their colonies. They are also quite clumsy - bumping into each other when carrying out their daily roost ‘light-sampling’ flights.
Female bats produce 1 to 2 pups per year, who cling to their mothers for the first few weeks of their life until they find their wings and make their own way into the world.
Meet Baz (introduced to us by Ashley, from Severn Wildlife Rescue)…
“Baz came into us on Halloween...
He had been found trying to hibernate on a wall, we deduced that he was one of the babies of 2020 and was not quite sure where he was supposed to hibernate.
As he had no obvious injuries, rehydration fluids were administered, and he chomped his way through his first mealworm. He is extremely chatty and often sits in his food bowel waiting for me to pop his mealworms in when it is feeding time.
I have never seen such a ferocious eater, he really goes to town once one of those mealworms are in his mouth!
I feel like he has taken advantage of me in a way, the other bats that are in care are all in torpor, however Baz kicked up such a fuzz about going into hibernation that I have kept him in the warmth over winter.
He will be released in the spring all being well!”
Bats are brilliant pest controllers – they feast on insects such as mosquitoes, moths and flies. A single common pipistrelle bat can eat as many as 3,000 insects in one night! If 10 fewer bats were feeding in your garden, there would be up to 33,000 more mosquitoes - think about how many more itchy bites you would get on your summer BBQs if our bats weren’t protecting us!
Bats are most active at dusk and dawn between April-October, so keep your eyes peeled for these winged wonders on your early morning and evening walks!
Thank you SO much to Rosie Hopkins for writing this blog post (and to Ashley Dale, for her contribution) for Wildscaping Worldwide. Xx