Bats are the only mammals that fly. We have resident bats who patrol the early evening skies. Dark bodies dart and swoosh by in the glimmering dusk of long summer evenings. I like that we have bats.
All UK bats are insectivorous and nocturnal. They can eat up to a third of their body weight in insects each night.
To attract bats you need to encourage bug life. In gardens, leave a wild area. Create small piles of woody twigs and cut branches. Wet marshy areas are perfect for creating bug-rich habitats. Piles of stones create insect habitats too.
Include night-blooming plants in your garden to encourage moths – a key part of the diet of a bat. Night-scented flowers such as nicotina (flowering tobacco) and honeysuckle are a good bet for attracting pollen-hungry moths.
Common Garden Bats:
- Common pipistrelle (pipistrellus pipistrellus)
- Soprano pipistrelle (P. pygmaeus) are the most common and smallest
- Noctule (nyctalus noctula) are the largest UK bat with a wingspan similar to that of a starling These are usually the first bat to emerge in the evening.
- Daubenton’s bat (myotis daubentonii) likes aquatic insects and is found flying over ponds.
- Brown long-eared bat (plecotus auritus) flies slowly, often close to trees. They have huge ears
For more information about all things bat-related visit the Bat Conversation Trust and Bat Conservation International.
Our bats that used to do a nightly patrol over the back patch have not been seen regularly through late summer/early autumn 2019, but I did spot a solitary bat doing rounds at dusk late October 2019.
In summer 2020 the bats came back and we now see two and sometimes three bats patrolling the dusky skies over the back patch gardens.