May 2018 – Dispelling the Myth: An introduction to Bats

Kevin Reynolds explained conservation Bat work was his hobby as he works as well.  Kevin is a member of the Staffordshire Bat group. There are also Leicestershire and Rutland bat groups.

Kevin gave a most interesting power point presentation covering the following points:

  • Bats – Bram Stoker, Vincent Price and Christopher Lee and the horror movies where bats were also shown
  • October and Halloween
  • European dragon myths, churchyards, gargoyles,
  • Myth – “Bats get caught in your hair”
  • Bats are mammals with only true flight patterns.
  • There are MEGABATS and MICROBATS
  • MEGABATS – Have fox/dog like faces and eat fruit.
  • Honduras white bats settle under palm leaves.
  • Smallest bat – Thailand hognose bat which is the size of a bumble bee.

 

  • 18 species of bats in the United Kingdom with 10 species in Staffordshire. Most common is the Pippistrelle bat.   You usually see Pippistrelle bats flying round at 10 pm at night up to 8 inches long.  Bats in the United Kingdom eat insects.
  • Bats disperse seeds
  • Some will eat scorpions in China they eat fish.
  • There are 3 species of vampire bats. They can detect an animal on the ground to take the blood.   The saliva of the Bat has an anticoagulant.  This substance has been used as medicine for heart attack and stroke victims.
  • Echo imaging or Echo location to get the insects.The bats call at a frequency about human hearing frequencies.
  • Kevin showed an example of a bat detector you can buy, cost about £200.
  • The Bats catch insects in their wings and transfer to their mouth.
  • Cats can hear bats – At the rescue centres they deal with hundreds of injured bats, many have been caught by cats.
  • Reproduction – Bat mums are extremely devoted, come together in maternity roosts at the beginning of June, feed on the bat mother’s milk for 6 weeks before coming independent. The Bats mate in the autumn and the female stores the sperm until in the spring time they release an egg to be fertilised.
  • If the bat group get a telephone call to say someone has found a bat in their garden they advise to put the bat back.
  • The bats live in woodpecker holes, barns, houses – the eaves in the roof of houses on modern housing estates are popular roosts.You can get up to 800 in a house roof.
  • In winter bats hibernate, their brown fat keeps them going.
  • Threats to bats – Intensification of farming. A bat can eat up 2 to 3,000 midge insects per night.  Much of the woodland has been cleared.
  • Staffordshire bat group – Does bat walks and bat boxes to purchase.

 

SO TO DISPEL THE MYTHS:

Please grow plants in your gardens to attract insects for example Buddleia.

Keep a small pond to attract insects.

Have a bat box in the garden, Kevin showed us an example of the type of bat box to use.

Use a bat detector.

Join Staffordshire bat group or a bat conservation trust.

 

Report by Stephanie Taylor

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