Bats are the only mammals that can fly and they are found across the world except in the Artic and Antarctic. There are over 1,000 species of bats and Britain is home to 16 species from 2 families: 2 of horseshoe bat ( Rhinolophidae ) and 14 species of vesper or evening bats ( Vespertilionidae )
All British bats eat insects including moths, flies, midges and beetles. Bats locate their prey and the wider world in their environment by echolocation – the pattern of returning echoes from their high frequency ultrasonic calls.
During the Summer, female bats form nursery colonies in trees and buildings in which to raise their babies – usually one per year. During the Winter months when there are fewer insects to feed on, both sexes can be found hibernating in trees, buildings, caves and sometimes in the most unusual places!
Links to Bat Organisations –
BCT – Bat Conservation Trust
The Bat Conservation Trust supports local bat groups across the UK and over 6000 members. We work with volunteers, scientists, industry and government both locally and nationally on a range of projects. To achieve our vision of a world rich in wildlife where bats and people thrive together, our work focuses on discovering more about bats and how they use the landscape, taking action to protect bats and enhance the landscapes on which they rely, inspiring people about bats and their environment, engaging them in their conservation and strengthen our work by building skills, resources, motivation and understanding.
Bats in Churches
Churches, as well as being treasured places of worship, are an important part of our cultural and historic heritage, contributing to the nation’s understanding of its past and present. Churches are also important roosting sites for bats and some have provided a safe haven from habitat loss for many generations.
It is thought that as many as 60% of pre-16th Century churches contain bat roosts and at least 8 species are known to use churches. When bats are present in small numbers they often go unnoticed, but some churches hosting large roosts can experience issues that restrict the use of the church and its maintenance. The Bats in Churches partnership project is working with church and conservation communities to find bespoke, sustainable solutions for 102 churches across the England.
BCI – Bat Conservation International
Bat Conservation International (BCI) envisions a global community working together to conserve bats at a global scale, preventing further extinctions, identifying and protecting the world’s Significant Bat Areas, developing proactive solutions to serious threats, and ultimately ensuring lasting survival of the world’s 1300+ species of bats. To that end, we must prioritize where and how we work to advance collaborative conservation to ensure we achieve our desired and lasting conservation impact.
Natural England and Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs – DEFRA
Bats: protection and licences
What you must do to avoid harming bats and when you’ll need a licence.
Bats: surveys and mitigation for development projects
Standing advice for local planning authorities to assess impacts of development on bats.
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