The Wildlife Trusts is encouraging us to get closer to bats and understand more about these fascinating little mammals. They suggest many ways to help them thrive, including going batty in your back garden.
There are lots of little things that we can do that have a big impact on bats, from planting night-scented flowers in your garden, to letting your local green space go wild. Creating the perfect habitat for bats could include planting rows of hedges or trees, or even creating a pond – with the insect populations serving as the perfect food supply.
If you are really keen to have bats hanging around you could build a bat box, but just be aware that it is illegal to disturb them if you don’t have a license. Look for droppings around the box as an indicator the boxes are being used.
Although bats will be less visible this time of year as they are thinking about hibernation, the species you are more likely to see flutter through the skies or below the trees are the common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle, brown long-eared and serotine.
With all this activity at dusk, when there is less light, it may be difficult to tell your serotines from your pipistrelles. However, a lot can be told from the way they fly. Common pipistrelles are fast flying with lots of twists and turns, so you may see them darting across your garden, gobbling up midges – they can eat up to 2,000 a night! Whereas long-eared bats and serotines fly slower – with the serotines making short glides and steep descents. You may even see them flying below tree-tops while it’s still fairly light.
For more information on how you can help bats and other native wildlife in your area.contact your local Wildlife Trust