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Bat facts

Posted by David Baxter 02/06/2016 0 Comment(s)

Are bats good or bad for our gardens?

 

Bats are responsible for pollinating many different species of plants around the world, Banana, Vanilla, Tequila, Avocados and many more tropical plants that are dependent on bats for pollination. Closer to home the bats we see are important to the eco system as they are (along with the Nightjar) the only night flying predator for insects. The common Pipistrelle is small enough to fit in a matchbox, yet he will eat around 3,000 midges and other insects every night!

 

Even though bats are in decline, they are one of the most widespread of the land mammals, as they are found across the globe except for the Polar ecosystems and a few isolated islands. In this country bats are protected by law and you have to have a license to even look into a bat box, but if you get chance to go to your local bat group and see their work, you will be amazed at how the little creature are looked after by the experts and always with the target of releasing them back into the wild.

 

At this time of year (June) you can go outside in most places around dusk and look up into the sky to see bats flying around you. you can also buy a bat detector and these will pick up bat calls and you can track a bats journey as well as tell what species it is. There are 16 species in Great Britain, but the most common are the Pipistrelle, Brown Long-Eared, Daubenton's, Natterer's, Whiskered, Noctule,and Serotine bats. There are Two types of Pipistrele bat, The Common and the Soprano, They are very similar except for a dark band across the common Pipistrele face. They can live for up to 16 years and weigh 3 to 8 grammes (a 5 pence piece weighs 6 grammes).

 

Some bat facts!

  • Bats are not blind, although they only see in black and white, their vision is about the same as ours. 
  • Do they get tangled in our hair? No - they are excellent navigators and can easily avoid colliding with humans.
  • Are they clean? - Bats spend a great deal of time grooming each other they are very sociable creatures.
  • Do bats cause damage to buildings? - No, they do not build nests or bring in building materials, nor do they damage the woodwork.
  • What are Bats enemies? - mainly cats and they are pretty damaging to the bat population.
  • Are bats a health risk? - No the UK bat population can carry diseases, the worst of which is a type of Rabies, but this is very rare and you can not catch it unless you handle a bat. If you find a bat in trouble, always call the national bat helpline  0345 1300 228. 
  • How can I help bats?- You can get to know bats by contacting your local bat group and going along to see them. Also you can put up a bat box around your garden or on your house wall.

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