Good misty morning!
It’s currently about -2degrees here this morning. Brrrrrr!
Charlotte and myself had organised a bat talk and walk last night but unfortunately it was cancelled so instead of educating the public, I thought some of you might interested in our creatures of the night.
There are 18 species of bat in the UK (17 that are known to breed here). World wide, there are more than 1100 species of bat, ranging from the tiny bumblebee bat weighing just 2 grams (the world’s smallest mammal) to the flying foxes with wingspans up to 2 metres. Bats make up around 1/5 of the worlds mammals.
The bats found at Loch of the Lowes include the common pipistelle, soprano pipistrelle, daubenton’s, brown long-eared, natterer’s and noctule. You can listen to sounds and read factsheets on each species at Bat Conservation Trust
Bats are not blind;
They will not fly into your hair;
They do not suck blood (only 3 species of bat drink blood);
They are not mice with wings.
They use echolocation to locate their food, but also have image-forming eyes adapted to dim light.
They may follow you when out walking as insects will be attracted to the heat radiated from your body.
The 3 species which drink blood will make a cut (not a bite) in their prey (preference for cows and pigs) and release an anticoagulant, draculin, into the cut and lap up the blood.
Bats are more closely related to humans than rodents.
Threats to bats:
UK bat numbers have declined significantly over the last 100yrs.
Loss of feeding habitats and flight lines;
Loss of insects to feed on;
Building and development work affecting roosts;
Lighting of roost entrances;
Felling of trees containing roosts.
Bats can tell us a lot about the health of our environment. They are top predators of common nocturnal insects and occupy a wide range of habitats. They are sensitive to change in land-use practices and the pressures they face are the same to many other native species, making them excellent indicators for the wider health of the UK’s wildlife.
Bats and the law:
All UK bat species and their roosts are protected by law.
It is an offence to:
Deliberately capture, injure or kill a bat;
Intentionally or recklessly disturb a bat in its roost or deliberately disturb a group of bats;
Damage or destroy a bat roosting place (even if bats are not occupying the roost at the time);
Possess or advertise/sell/exchange a bat (dead or alive) or any part of a bat;
Intentionally or recklessly obstruct access to a bat roost.
In western culture, bats are symbols of darkness and its foreboding nature, and primarily associated with vampires. This came from the Mesoamerican mythology where bats symbolised the land of the dead;
In some Native American tribes, the bat is a trickster spirit;
Bats are sacred in Tonga;
Pre-Columbian cultures associated bats with Gods and used them in their ceramics;
In Chinese lore, bats are the symbol of longevity and happiness;
In Spain, the bat is used as a symbol of Heraldry.