Scary Bat Cave

NOT VAMPIRES, AND NOT VERMIN: ALL HAIL THE BEAUTIFUL BAT

Happy Hallowe’en! Since  it’s that time of year associated with werewolves, witches and vampires, we thought we’d leave this little thought here: Vampire bats are not the stuff of horror movies… they are a real-live species!

Fear not though, not only is there no evidence to suggest that they can transform into Dracula and his cronies, but there are none hanging out here in the UK.

To mark the spookiest day of the year, here are 10 other batty facts that you may not know about these misunderstood and maligned innocent creatures…

You wouldn’t want to run into one of these… (iStock/stevezimina1)

? There are 1,200 species of bat globally, though only 18 are native to the UK, all of which are protected species.

? Bats are the only true flying mammals.

? They are NOT blind.

? There is only one Greater Mouse Eared bat in the whole of the country, and he lives in a tunnel in Sussex!

Greater mouse-eared bat (iStock/Ciungara)

? Bats are protected due to declining numbers, partly as a result of intensive farming in the last century, but also because of human threats such development and habitat removal, and attacks from other animals.

Helen caring for Nelson, a Noctule bat that has been attacked by a cat

? It is illegal to deliberately capture, take, injure or kill a bat, or to recklessly disturb them while they are occupying a structure or sheltering.

? It is also against the law to destroy or damage the breeding or resting place of a bat, whether it is in use or not.

? Bats in the UK are tiny – often just the size of a human finger, and often roost in ‘crevice roosts’, with the gaps in mortar, facia boards and broken tiles on a property being common choices.

? Surveys to ascertain the presence of bats are required prior to the conversion, demolition or modification of buildings, before the installation of wind turbines or floodlighting. Before felling or lopping trees, and whenever proposals affect water bodies or are in or adjacent to quarries and cliff faces.

? To avoid disruption to plans due to the presence of bats, arrange surveys as early as possible to ensure that if there is the smallest chance of them being on site, guidance can be sort and mitigation measures put in place.

For further insight, contact Helen (AKA Batgirl) of our Environmental team.