As the warmth of spring arrives and bats return to their summer roosts, staff at Scottish Natural Heritage often find themselves busy preparing for the flourish of bat activity.
Bats are commonly found in people’s homes during the spring and summer months. In most cases people don’t know that they are there, but occasionally, people experience problems with bat roosts in their houses. Most issues can be solved relatively easily and SNH have set-up a new BATS IN HOUSES HELPLINE 01463 725165 to help people resolve these issues.
If you experience problems with bats in your house and need advice on how to manage the bats or the problems they are causing, or want to carry out works which you think may affect the bats (such as installing insulation or woodworm treatment), then you can call this helpline for advice. If your query cannot be answered immediately over the phone, it may be possible for a bat worker to visit your house to investigate your concerns and suggest ways of resolving any problems the bats are causing.
All bat species have declined in the past, and they remain vulnerable to the loss of secure roost sites. For this reason all bats and their roosts are protected by law from disturbance and damage (http://www.snh.gov.uk/protecting-scotlands-nature/protected-species/which-and-how/mammals/bat-protection/). Houses play a vital role providing suitable roost sites for several bat species in Scotland and the retention of these roosts is essential for bat conservation.
The majority of people are now much more tolerant of bats than when legal protection for bats was first introduced, and the conservation status of the species most commonly found in houses – common and soprano pipistrelles – is thought to be stable or improving (http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/results_and_reports.html). Much of this success can be attributed to people’s personal contact with bat workers.
If you think you have bats in your house and need advice please phone the BATS IN HOUSES HELPLINE 01463 725165 (8.30am-5pm) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have found an injured or grounded bat please phone the Bat Conservation Trust’s Helpline 0845 1300 228 or email email@example.com or visit the BCT website www.bats.org.uk
Did you know?
• Bats found in houses are usually female bats who use the house as a summer maternity roost and have dependent young. Most bats will leave when their young are weaned and able to fly, from around early August, although some bats may remain into the autumn and winter.
• Bats often return to the same summer roost each year. However, the number of bats in a roost does not increase dramatically from year to year, because females typically have only one baby a year, and not all young will survive. Not all females will have a baby and nearly half the young will be males who will not return to the same roost the following year.
• Bats do not chew cables or other materials and are not destructive by nature.
• Bats in the UK eat only insects and as a result their droppings are dry and crumble to dust. There are no known health risks associated with droppings or urine from UK bats.
Further reading: SNH Bats and People leaflet