Watercress 42- April 1998

Bat need friends

At this years AGM, Patty Briggs of the Hertfordshire and Middlesex Bat Group gave a fascinating talk about bats. It was illustrated by slides, and she also brought along a couple of bats for people to see and touch, to prove what harmless and vulnerable creatures they are. We have reproduced below extracts from one of the group's leaflets.

Why are bats at risk?

Click here for information from the Bat Conservation Trust- Because hedgerows and meadows have been destroyed to make way for intensive farming, the numbers of insects have fallen by a third since 1945 - so bats have less to eat.
- Modem forestry treats dead trees like rubbish to be tidied up - so bats have lost their homes in tree trunks.
- Lethal chemicals such as lindane are used to protect timbers in house roofs from insects. These chemicals have killed pet cats and dogs even though safer chemicals are available - so not surprisingly, they kill bats in roofs too.
- Caves where bats hibernate have been filled with rubbish or blocked up - so bats are left out in the cold.
- Because bats are used in horror movies, people are taught to be frightened of these shy, gentle animals which are soft and furry.

British bats are completely harmless.
Bats are not blind - they eat only insects - they do not get caught in your hair and they rarely live in draughty belfries. In fact, bats are very rare, their numbers declining; the activities of people are the main cause.

Bats and the Law

Bats use a number of roost sites throughout the year such as houses, tree hollows, caves and tunnels for shelter and protection. Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 it is an offence to:
- Intentionally injure a bat
- Intentionally disturb a bat
- Damage a bat roost
- Obstruct the entrance to a bat roost

Local bats

Of the14 species of bat in Britain only 9 are regularly found in Hertfordshire. The Pipistrelle bat is the smallest and the commonest, weighing no more than a 20 pence coin and fitting comfortably into a matchbox. Even the largest, the Noctule only weighs as much as two 50 pence coins. All the species are hard to find - the first roost of Natterer's bats was only discovered in 1990.

For further details of the Middlesex and Hertfordshire Bat Group contact: Patty Briggs on 0181-950 1755

For more information on bats, you can also contact:

The Bat Conservation Trust
15 Cloisters House,
8 Battersea Park Road
London SW8 4BG

The Bat Conservation Trust home page Click here to go to the Bat Conservation Trust website Back to Articles Back to Articles