- Bats are the only true flying mammals and are highly adapted to their life-style.
- There are 17 UK species and 16 of those have been recorded in Somerset.
- All UK bats are Microchiroptera = 'tiny hand-wings'.
- All UK bats eat insects (none are vampires!), all fly at night and hunt by echolocation – emitting and listening to reflected high-frequency sound waves.
- Bats hang upside down because this allows their bones to be thinner and lighter – the tensile (stretching strength) of bone is stronger than its compressive (squashing) strength
- Bats can see well and some species will hunt by sight at dusk, useful as some moths listen for bat clicks and will drop out of the bats' range if they hear them!
- Some bats' clicks are extremely loud – over 100dB – similar to smoke alarms! However, these are mostly at frequencies above human hearing: 20kHz to over 100kHz
- As humans age we loose the ability to hear high frequencies so children may hear bats their parents and grandparents cannot.
- Bats emit pulses of sound through their mouths or noses using the reflections to identify shape, size and movement of flying insects, they can select favourite prey species on the wing.
- Bats are important pest controllers, one Pipistrelle bat can eat 3000 insects per night, many will be mosquitoes and midges.
- Bats mate in the autumn and females store the sperm while they hibernate, then fertilise their single egg in spring. Females have one baby per year and will carry that baby to different roosts depending on the temperature.
- Bats don't eat or gnaw wood or electric cables and they will use several different roost sites over a year.
- Bats often depend on large old trees for roosting and hibernation sites and the loss of those trees can be catastrophic, bat boxes can give some new homes.
There are some lovely photos on The Woodland Trust website
for further reading A Year In The Life Of A Bat
Learn more about these fascinating creatures;
Friday 14th July, 8.40pm, Drayton Village Hall
Andy Avery of Somerset Bat Group with his self-identifying bat-detectors
Come and learn about bats. No need to book, just come on the night!
All welcome! £3 donation gratefully received
For more info. contact email@example.com