What is the legal status of bats?
Numbers of bats have been declining over the years due to loss of roost sites, timber treatment of roofs using chemicals toxic to bats, pesticides killing their prey and a loss of feeding sites.
For these reasons it is illegal to harm bats or disturb their roost sites. More information is available on the Bat Conservation Trust website.
Is it true that bats suck blood?
Out of almost 1,000 species of bat around the world only three species, the vampires, drink blood, and they are restricted to South America.
Most species of bat, including all those found in the UK, feed on insects.
Do bats get caught in hair?
Bats are not blind, they can actually see quite well.
When flying at night they use another sense, called echolocation, to get a detailed view of the world around them. They shout, very loudly, and use the echoes to find their way, and their insect food, effortlessly, even in absolute darkness.
Most of these shouts are so high pitched humans cannot hear them, but they allow the bat to pick a midge out of the air, so the idea they can get stuck in your hair is an old wive's tale.
Do bats cause damage when they roost in a roof?
It is almost unknown for bats to cause any damage to houses.
Unlike birds, they don't bring in material to build nests and, unlike mice, they don't gnaw wood, electric cables or entrance holes but merely take advantage of existing gaps or holes. Once inside the roost they cling onto the timbers or squeeze themselves into cracks and crevices.
Most bat colonies are small, with the average colony of 50 bats weighing in at well under 500 grams.
What do I do if I find a bat roost or an injured bat?
If you think you might have a roost in your house contact Natural England on 01929 557450 who will put you in touch with a licensed bat worker.
If you find a sick or injured bat contact your local bat group for advice. Phone the UK Bat Helpline number 0845 1300 228 for contact details of your local bat group. >The Dorset Bat Group
How do I know if I have a bat roost in my roof?
Only rarely are bats actually seen in roof space because most species hide in tiny crevices.
If you find mouse like droppings scattered on the floor in roof spaces, do not assume you have mice. If the droppings are crumbly you may be playing host to a colony of bats.
If you do have a roost and you are planning any work on your house, you need to call Natural England on 01929 557450.
How can I carry out building works or timber treatment in my roof without disturbing a bat roost?
The presence of a bat roost is a material consideration when a planning authority is considering any development proposal.
The developer should undertake a thorough bat survey using a licensed bat surveyor.
Contact Natural England on 01929 557450 to arrange for a bat warden to visit. Natural England can then advise on the best methods, timings and design of the work to avoid harm to bats.
Good roofing and timber treatment firms are aware of the law and will not carry out work in a roof used by bats without this advice.
Where can I get information about bat boxes?
The loss of woodland has resulted in a decline in available roost sites but bat boxes can provide artificial roosting sites.
There are several types of boxes to choose from depending on the position of the box, species you wish to encourage and time of year. You can also complement your bat box by planting honeysuckle or evening primrose to provide feeding habitats for insects such as moths i.e. bat food!
More information is available from the Bat Conservation Trust and the Dorset Bat Group.