Bats

Bats

Description

Bats are furry intelligent flying mammals which live for up to 30 years. There are fourteen species of bat resident in the United Kingdom the most common being the pipistrelle.

Biology and Habitat

All British bats feed on insects caught in flight or picked off water, the ground or foliage; one pipistrelle may eat up to 3,500 insects each night.  Bats are not blind but their most highly developed sense is that of hearing and by emitting high frequency sound they use a form of sonar to identify fine detail even in complete darkness so enabling the avoidance of obstacles.  Bats mate after the age of 15 months and produce a single offspring but not always every year.  Mating occurs in Autumn and occasionally Spring, and maternity roosts are occupied between May and August.  The young are weaned after 6 weeks.  Bats need a variety of roosts for different times of year.  They are particularly vulnerable where they concentrate for hibernation in winter and where females gather in maternity colonies in summer.  The principle sites are underground habitats, such as caves and tunnels, buildings and trees. 

Importance

Bats are totally harmless creatures and their presence does not constitute a risk to health, although their droppings can smell if they become damp.

Control

IT IS ILLEGAL TO INTENTIONALLY KILL, INJURE OR HANDLE ANY BAT, TO INTENTIONALLY DAMAGE, DESTROY OR OBSTRUCT ACCESS TO ANY PLACE THAT A BAT USES FOR SHELTER OR PROTECTION OR TO DISTURB A BAT WHILE IT IS OCCUPYING SUCH A PLACE.

Further Information

You can find out more about bats, including what to do if you find them in your property by
contacting the Bats Conservation Trust.