You may have heard these expressions – ‘Blind as a bat’, ‘Bats in your hair’, ‘Bats in the belfry’!
Well actually they can see, and they don’t fly in your hair as they use echolocation to find their way around in the dark to find their food and to avoid bumping into things. Also, they don’t just live in belfry’s! They can roost in old and modern buildings, bridges, caves and trees, depending on the species!
Without them, there’d be a whole lot more midges around – did you know that our smallest British bat, the pipistrelle, can eat up to 3000 of them a night?
Bats play an important role in many environments around the world. Over 500 plant species rely on bats to pollinate their flowers, including species of mango, banana, guava, and also agave which is pollinated by the Mexican long-tongued bat and used to make tequila.
Closer to home, bats are an essential part of our own native wildlife. There are 18 different species here in the UK, making up almost a third of all mammal species and found in lots of different places like wetlands, woodlands, farmland and gardens. They all use echolocation to hunt insects in the dark.
Bats are a sign of a green and healthy environment, so creating a garden that’s good for bats will also be good for people. For those who enjoy gardening for wildlife, you might want to plant night-scented flowers such as Nicotiana (tobacco plant) or Lonicera (honeysuckle) to attract nocturnal insects, build a pond, or put up a bat box. The Bat Conservation Trust has lots more fascinating information about bats, and how you can help them – visit their website to find out more.
If you live near Denmark Farm and would like to find out more about our brilliant bats, then North Ceredigion Bat group will be leading a Bat walk here on Friday 20th August at 8.15pm. Bat detectors will be provided so you can listen to their amazing sounds. Booking essential.
Aline Denton, North Ceredigion Bat Group