Forest Holidays

20 bat facts for international bat night

Brush up on your bat knowledge

Ruth Sneddon

Forestipedia writer | Helping you to discover the best places on your travels

International Bat Night is upon us (29-30th August). As bats are one of species, we share our forest environment with, we’ve brought you 20 top bat facts, courtesy of our Forest Rangers. We have resident bats at all our locations and lots of opportunities to see them. The best chance is on our Nocturn Adventure with your Forest Ranger. All locations have special bat boxes too, providing safe homes for these amazing but vulnerable creatures.

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Fact 1

There are 18 species of bat in the UK –that’s over 20% of all our UK mammal species.

Fact 2

They account for only 1% of the UK mammal population at around 2.5 million bats.

Fact 3

The 2 main species of Pipistrelle bat account for 2 million of our bats, which means that the other 16 species are quite rare. Indeed, there is only 1 known greater mouse-eared bat, who has been in hibernation since 2002!

Fact 4

Bats are the only mammals that can fly. Their wings are flaps of skin joining their fingers together.

Fact 5

Bats are not blind. In fact, they can see quite well in the half light. However, like dolphins they mainly use echolocation - high pitched sounds which bounce back, allowing them to build a picture of the landscape in which they are flying.

Fact 6

Using echolocation, a bat can even detect the size and shape of an insect and in which direction it is travelling. Before eating it.

Fact 7

Bats eat thousands of insects. A pipistrelle can easily get through 3000 midges on a single night.

Fact 8

There really are vampire bats. Three species of bat found in Central and South America feed solely on blood. None have been recorded as taking human form.

Vampire bat

Vampire bat

Fact 9

Fossil evidence suggests that bats were probably flying around when dinosaurs roamed the earth 65 million years ago. It is only recent human activity, such as removing hedgerows and using chemicals on crops that is endangering their survival.

Fact 10

Not only do bats sleep upside down but most of them also rest, mate, and even give birth upside down.

Fact 11

Baby bats are called pups, and, like humans, bats normally give birth to one baby at a time or occasionally twins.

Fact 12

The world’s smallest bat is called Kitti’s hog-nosed bat and it is as light as a bumble bee.

Fact 13

The world’s largest bat is the giant golden-crowned flying fox, which has a wingspan of up to 6 feet.

Fact 14

Natural habitats for bats include hedgerows woodlands and near to ponds – that’s why we have bats at our forest locations.

Fact 15

Bats are nocturnal, and they hibernate during winter, venturing out for a drink if the weather is mild. The best time to see them is from May to September on warm nights, just after sunset.

Fact 16

Over 500 plant species rely on bats to pollinate them, including species of mango, cocoa and banana.

Fact 17

Bats in the UK are Indicator Species - the mine canaries of biodiversity. Changes in the bat population highlight imbalances in nature such as a decline in insect numbers or destruction of wildlife habitats.

Fact 18

All bats in the UK are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside act, 1981.

Fact 19

For tiny mammals’ bats can live surprisingly long lives. If they can survive their first winter, 5 or 6 years is usual for a pipistrelle, but some species may live over 30 years.

Fact 20

Known as the 'water bat', Daubenton's bats fish insects from the water's surface with their large feet or tail. You can spot them in action at Deerpark.

Myotis Daubentonii

Myotis Daubentonii

There are still a couple of months during which you can see the bats at our locations. When you book your cabin, make sure you also book to go out with the Forest Ranger, and you will find out more Bat Facts as well as seeing them in action.

How the year looks to a bat:

  • In April bats come out from hibernation.
  • In May female bats start forming maternal colonies.
  • In June they give birth.
  • In July they nurture their young (with milk of course – they are mammals).
  • In August the pups take to the wing and start catching their own dinner.
  • In September and October, it’s the mating season
  • In November it’s back into hibernation for the winter.
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