Presentation on theme: "BATS NOT cricket bats NOT Belgian Advanced Technology Systems. Not the ‘Murcielago’ with 4 wheels BUT Those nasty little things that fly in to women's."— Presentation transcript:
BATS NOT cricket bats NOT Belgian Advanced Technology Systems. Not the ‘Murcielago’ with 4 wheels BUT Those nasty little things that fly in to women's hair!.... N O T!
There’s a lot of them! It is estimated that there are 1,100 different species of bat. 47 species in USA alone. They account for 20% of the worlds mammals. From as small as 29mm in length (2g in weight) To 1.5Mtr wingspan (almost the width of a mini) and 1.2Kg
Myths Blind as a bat False. All bats can see, just that some are not ‘eagle-eyed’. We will talk about ‘echolocation’ later. Bats suck human blood. False. Well certainly not if they can avoid it, maybe it’s the taste. South and Central American bats do take the blood of livestock, but not humans. The ‘Vampire’ bat was named after the legend, not the other way round. Flying rodents or Fledermaus. False. Bats are more closely related to primates, but actually have their own ‘Order’ called Chiroptera. Bats fly in to peoples hair. Certainly not by choice. If they do, it might be that the echolocation ‘return’ they received was confusing. Again we will talk about echolocation shortly.
Chiroptera - The ‘Hand’
Echolocation Radar and sonar guys will know all about this. It is the ability to transmit a signal (in this case a high frequency audio, above human hearing) then analyse the echo that bounces back from the ‘target’. This is how bats identify their surroundings and more importantly, food. Because the transmitted and received signals are audio, no light is required, hence the ability of bats to fly in the dark. Bats share this ability with other mammals, most noticeably dolphins and whales, where due to the greater density of water, much greater distances of sound transmission is achieved.
Say Hello ! The most common bat seen in this area is the common Pipistrelle. As you can see, they are not big, however, as warm blooded mammals, they need food And lot’s of it. According to the National Environment Research Council. The Common Pipistrelle in Spain is classed as ‘Vulnerable’.
The role of Bats in the garden Bats feed on insects ! Period ! GOOD !!!! A Brown Bat can eat as many as 3000 mosquito’s in a night ! But obviously, a much smaller pipistrelle will eat less. However, one thing to keep in mind. A ‘small’ colony of bats can be 400 strong, each one will eat several hundred insects per day. Without going in to the Latin names of the families of insects, pipistrelle enjoy a hearty menu of: Moth Flies, Sand Flies (pet owners will like THAT !) House Flies ( We ALL like THAT !) And others. Primarily they catch insects on the wing (or ‘hawking’) but will take from leaves and even water, in a bat’s version of a fish eagle.
When do they eat ? They will usually emerge 20 minutes after sunset, though on very warm nights, they may emerge during daylight.
Where do they live ? Summer roosts: in cracks and crevices in new and old buildings, behind panelling, shutters and eaves. Also found in bat boxes and trees. At the recent BBQ at El Pinar, I sat with Len Prior and watched as dozens, possibly over a hundred, emerged from the join of a lean-to roof and wall, where the opening was no bigger than half an inch. Winter roosts: trees, buildings. Exposed groups in crevices in walls and stonework. Rarely underground. Relatively insensitive to cold. Male & female winter roosts are inhabited from mid-November to early March
How can we help them ? Build a bat box ! Here is a picture of a bat box I have on the side of my house (as yet unoccupied). They are easy to build, with numerous plans on the internet. They can be flat (as mine) or on a post. Follow the instructions on the web, but remember, for other animals (cats etc) a little pipistrelle is a tasty morsel.
Bat Boxes Here are two more images of Bat boxes. The lower one looks familiar, but it is the restricted access which defines it. For Pipistrelle, this would be about ½”. The upper picture, looking like rockets, has access from 4 sides. The lower box would be home for a few hundred bats. The upper, probably 100 in each
What next ? We named our bat box ‘Triple A’ Triple A..... AAA, Battery ? I know. It loses it in the explanation. Bats are shy retiring creatures. Easily disturbed and reluctant to move. A bat box might take up to two years or more to be occupied, so whilst you are patiently waiting for the ‘tenants’, why not look up on the internet about how to encourage insects to your garden (insect houses), so that Mr & Mrs Bat have lots to eat. Maybe we can do a talk on that at another time. Thank You