Animal Friends Blog
Photo credit: Hugh Clark
- There are more than 1,300 bat species in the world. In the UK we have 18 resident species of bat, that’s almost a quarter of our mammal species. One species, the greater mouse-eared bat, is down to only one known individual.
- Most bats feed on insects, including crop and garden pests, making them natures’ natural pest controllers; this is the case for all bat species in the UK. A tiny pipistrelle can eat up to 3,000 insects in a night. In other parts of the world, some species play an important role as pollinators or as dispersers of plant seeds which in turn helps forest regeneration.
- Bats are remarkably long-lived mammals, with some UK species able to live over 30 years. This means that some of the same bats could be visiting your garden year after year. Just like humans, they only have one baby at a time although they can sometimes have twins.
- Bats can see, but use their ears to hunt in the dark using a sonar system called ‘echolocation’. The term ‘blind as a bat’ is totally inaccurate. Echolocation is above the range of human hearing, but can be heard by people using a ‘bat detector’. Bats have superb hearing. A grey long-eared bat, of which there are only 1000 left in the UK, can hear a ladybird walking on a leaf.
- The Bat Conservation Trust works to educate people about bats, understand more about them and promote their conservation. There are some positive signs that some UK species are beginning to show the first signs of recovery, but they continue to work to make sure more bats benefit from their efforts in order to enable them to return from the brink.
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