Bats are mammals in the order Chiroptera. There are 18 species of bat found in Britain, of which 17 are known to breed in the UK. All are insectivores and are strictly nocturnal, their daylight hours are spent grooming and sleeping, emerging from their roosting sites at dusk each night.
They are also one of the three species of British mammals that use hibernation to survive the cold harsh winters.
Bats are graceful, complicated creatures and contrary to popular myth are not vampires who get caught in your hair on dark stormy nights! The wings of bats are much thinner than those of birds, allowing bats to manoeuvre more quickly and more accurately. Although they have tiny eyes, bats can locate their prey easily through a complex navigation system similar to a ship’s sonar, known as echolocation techniques. The social structure of bats varies, with some bats leading solitary lives and others living in caves colonized by more than a million bats. A single bat can live over 20 years.
Flight has enabled bats to become one of the most widely distributed groups of mammals, they exist all over the world and are found in almost every habitat available, ranging from seasides to mountains and even deserts!
The two most likely visitors to houses are the tiny pipistrelle (being only 35-45mm long) and the long-eared bat, identified by their incredibly long ears! They are usually found roosting in the eaves or tucked behind old wooden beams during the spring and summer months. Bat habitats have two basic requirements: roosts, where they spend the day or hibernate, and places for foraging. Most temperate species additionally need a relatively warm hibernation shelter. Bat roosts can be found in hollows, crevices, foliage, and even human-made structures.
This half term is the perfect time to go bat-spotting! Why not bundle up warm and see if you can spot these speedy little mammals zipping through the clear Autumn sky? Discover our truly unique half-term holiday cottages here
To find out more about how you can help bats why not take a look at our charity partner, Tiggywinkles. You can help by donating here.