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Thursday, 7 February 2008

Bats & Trees

Awareness and consideration of ecology is required for effective tree management, particularly in case of bats. Here are 6 facts about bats.

Fact 1:
There are 17 species of bat native to the United Kingdom and they all rely on trees for either roost sites or food sources.

Fact 2:
The most common bat species in the UK are the Pipistrelle spp. You can fit 100 Pipistrelle bats into a 1 pint milk bottle (calculated via mathematical formula not empirical research!)

Mexican Free-tailed Bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) inside bridge crevice - 1
Fact 3:
Contrary to common belief bats are not blind; they actually have very good eyesight.

Fact 4:
All bats and bat roosts are protected by law. Disturbance of a bat or bat roost carries a fine of £5000 per bat and could incur a 6 month prison sentence.

Bat cave from Khao Yai Thailand.

Fact 5:
Bats in the UK can live for up to 60 years, and they make up 30% of Britain’s mammal population.

Two bats on hummingbird feeder

Fact 6:
Bats are protected due to their serious decline in recent years, attributed predominantly to a loss of their habitat.

Watch live images from inside a roost of common pipistrelle bats at the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall

Image Credits: bflyguys , Isaraguide , Deangeliaz and Citress respectively.

Bat and monkey chilling together


  1. This is a great post.. both Jane and I love bats, when the lads were younger we would take them to a nearby rock face and wait for the bats to come out. The lads loved it, the bats would fly really close at times. We have them flying up and dow and around the houses where we live. I love seeing them twisting to catch a moth or other insect... so fast.
    Another great post.

  2. Hey Tom! I also love bats. That must have been amazing watching them come out of the caves and crevices at dusk, what a wonderful experience for you and your family.

    I would love to see a bat as big as the last's hard to gage the scale and the monkey could be very small but even so it looks huge!

  3. It maybe something to do with living in London but I never see bats..

    We saw them every evening when on holiday in Crete.

    Very interesting post, thanks :)

  4. Great information.

    Like Tom, I enjoy watching the bat dart around catching bugs. We often have many in the early evening during the summer.

  5. Hi Lady Banana and welcome! Bats tend to use wildlife corridors to traverse the landscape. They use large trees and well established landscape features like old hedgerows to navigate by and provide them with food. I expect there are plenty in London but they will be near vegetation, water and areas of woodland.

    Hello Marvin, good to hear from you again. I am glad you liked the post. I am doing research for a policy on bats and trees for work so aside from my personal interest I am amassing additional knowledge to complete this document. Bye for now!

  6. Excellent post for bats. We strive hard here to get bats to roost where we live but have had no luck. My daughter has an older house and they somehow get into her attic space and roost there and she doesn't mind at all.

  7. Hey Old Man Lincoln! Do you get bats feeding in your garden? I do not know how they choose their roost sites in terms of geographical location however, wildlife corridors, food sources and water are key for British bats, and generations of bats tend to keep to the same roosts. They are definitely creatures of habit.

    The Bat Conservation Trust do this publication on encouraging bats to your garden:

    I hope that is helpful.


    I'll try that link again!

  9. Bats are interesting species, but I tell you I would be scared to come out at night and knowing that they like to stick to my hair, lol. Great photos, and information, thanks for sharing, Anna :)

  10. Hey Anna! I know what you mean. I have heard it said that they won't do that but I have had a few fly very close to my head and actually touch me slightly once or twice. I think it may be when they have maternity roosts and are warning me away. Generally I think they like to stay away from us!

  11. Is it true that bats only live where there is low pollution i.e. there is clean air?

  12. Hey Jo! Bats can tolerate some pollution however they rely on particular features in this country such as hedgerows, woodland and water, as linked features, features unassociated with towns and cities, where pollution tends to be at its highest.

    An isolated landscape feature without sufficient food sources and hibernation areas probably can't support bats.

    Pollution can be detrimental to the ecology that the bats rely on for food i.e. insects and areas of high pollution can be lacking in ecology.

    Also, some bats will not cross open spaces to seek out new feeding areas therefore if there is no link via trees, old buildings that they may be roosting in or hedgerows the bats will not spread in that direction.

    I have known bats to feed and roost along highway verges where a tree belt exists leading to woodland. It is likely that the development came after the bats as they can live for so long (60 years) and return to known roosts to breed year after year.

    The main cause of the rapid decline of bats in this country is loss of habitat, predominantly through loss of trees and hedgerows, and the segregation of the countryside.

    Thanks for stopping by, hope that answers your question?

  13. Oh wow, this got every one going - fascinating input mixed with a good read.


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