Bats are for life, not just Halloween!
Why I Love Bats
Bats are one of my favourite animals. Long associated with gothic tales, vampires and horror films, they will always be one of the most common motifs at this time of year as Halloween gets closer, but I think they deserved to be celebrated year round.
Bats are fascinating creatures, very cute and quite hard to get a good look at as they move so quickly so seeing one up close is a real treat. You might see them flitting around by water on Summer evenings in the UK.
Who couldn't love this face?
Photo: Johannes Giez
Bat Facts and FAQs
Which Bats can be seen in the UK?
There are 18 species of bat that can be seen in the UK:
Alcathoe bat, Barbastelle, Bechstein's bat, Brandt's bat, Brown long-eared bat, Common pipistrelle, Daubenton's bat, Greater horseshoe bat, Grey long-eared bat, Leisler's bat, Lesser horseshoe bat, Nathusius' pipistrelle, Natterer's bat, Noctule, Serotine, Soprano pipistrelle, Whiskered bat and, occasionally, the Greater mouse-eared bat
Are bats mammals?
Yes. Bats are the only flying mammals and comprise about 20% of all classified mammal species worldwide. Mother bats usually only give birth to a single pup per litter.
Can bats see?
The short answer is yes. The phrase ‘as blind as a bat’ has no truth and is thought to have come about as people believed bats have poor vision due to their apparent haphazard flight pattern. There are two suborders of bat: megabats and microbats. Megabats have good vision equal to that of a human. The vision of microbats is not as good as they use echolocation to navigate.
Why do bats hang upside down?
Most, but not all bats roost hanging upside down. This is mainly down to their physical make up, their hips and legs are designed for flight, not perching or sitting, therefore hanging is most natural way for them to relax. Also, by already being high up allows for easier take off as unlike birds, they are unable to take off effortlessly from the ground.
Will bats attack humans and could a bat bite kill you?
It’s sad that this is a common bat related query as they really are not scary. As with all wild animals, leave them alone and they will not harm you. Bats will only bite a human if threatened or disturbed, and they definitely won’t come into your bedroom and night to turn you into a vampire. They can carry disease such as rabies so can be dangerous if you are bitten but keep your distance and respect their space and you’ll be fine.
How can I help bats?
Put up a bat box:
Bat boxes provide a place for bats to roost where there a few natural roosting sites. They are best put up in areas where bats are known to feed and well out of the reach for predators such as cats. Different species will have different requirements and once used, only a licenced person can open the box. There is loads of information on bat boxes via the Bat Conservation Trust.
Donate / adopt / Volunteer
Depending on where you are, there a huge number of bat groups, organisations and charities that are looking for help protecting this amazing animal.
Shop with Bat Conservation Trust Supporters
Shutter Jewellery donates 10% of the revenue from the Bat jewellery collection to the Bat Conservation Trust. See their website for more retailers donating to this great cause.
Spread the word
Bats have had some bad press over the years, so pass on your knowledge and love for bats!
Of course, my love for bats means they feature in a collection of jewellery. The photograph within is of an Indian Flying Fox, taken silhouetted against the sky in Sri Lanka. See all Bat jewellery