Get set for International Bat Night!

Common pipistrelle bat
Can you spot any common pipistrelles? (Photo: Laurie Campbell/WTML)

It’s thrilling to watch bats darting and swooping against a twilight sky! International Bat Night takes place on 26-27 August and there’ll be lots of bat walks and talks going on all over the country so it’s a great opportunity to learn more about these fascinating creatures.

UK bats

We have 18 species of bat in the UK. These are the ones you’re most likely to spot:

Pipistrelles are our smallest bats. They can fly very fast, and perform amazing aerobatics, twisting and turning in the air.

Noctules have narrow, pointy wings, and fly in straight lines high in the sky. You’re most likely to see them around trees.

Brown long-eared bats come out after dark and fly around trees, so they’re quite hard to spot. They fly quite slowly and tend to hover.

Daubenton's bats are often found near water. They swoop low over the surface and catch insects with their feet. They can even catch their dinner with their tail membrane!

Bat facts

People often say, ‘As blind as a bat’, but that’s wrong as bats aren’t blind. They do use their ears a lot more than their eyes though. They make squeaky noises and then use the echoes to find their way around. It’s called echolocation.

Bat wings aren’t really wings – they’re actually hands with the skin stretched between long fingers. Imagine flying around by flapping your hands!

You can find more fascinating bat facts in our blog.

Go on a bat walk

There are bats living in cities and in the countryside all over the UK so, if you can’t make it to an organised event, why not just head out on your own bat walk? Check out the Big Bat Map to find bat hotspots near you, and to add your own sightings.

The best time to see bats is just as it’s starting to get dark as that’s when they go hunting for insects to eat. Check sunset times and set off half an hour beforehand. Good places to look are woodlands, gardens, parks, near rivers and ponds, and around old buildings.

Get creative for bat night

Bats have inspired stories and artwork for years. Why not create your very own piece of bat-themed art or writing? You could even have a go at making some scrummy bat biscuits to munch on while you're bat spotting!

Make your garden bat friendly

Bats are attracted to gardens that have wild patches and plants that release their scent at night, such as honeysuckle and jasmine, as these attract the insects that bats like to feed on. It’s also good to have a compost heap or log pile.

If you have cat, it’s best to keep it in at night or it will scare the bats away.

Don’t forget to tell us about your bat sightings and post pictures of your batty creations on our Facebook page or on Twitter or Instagram using #NatureDetectives.

Which bats have you spotted?

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