How to watch Bats

Where?

You do not have to travel as far the watch Bats. They live all over the county in towns, villages and the countryside. So just head out to local area of woodland, nearby park or even your own back garden around sunset and watch the sky!

When?

Shortly after sunset (or before sunrise) on warm, dry and relatively still nights are best for bat watching. They can be seen on the wing between March and October, but you are likely to see most bats between May and August.

The emergence times of Bats varies by species, with the large Nocules being the first to appear a few minutes after sunset and most species are on the wing 30 mins after sunset.

So the best advice is to find a comfortable spot around sunset, and plan to watch for about an hour (or more!)

How?

Choose a place that is safe to walk at night, make sure to wrap up warm, wear sturdy footwear and carry a torch with spare batteries.

Most importantly get comfortable! Try to get your line of vision against the sky so you can see the bats silhouetted against the falling light levels, sitting or crouching down can help.

Keep looking around! Larger species may be feeding at treetop level, smaller bats can be flittering amongst trees, or feeding at head height over a meadow, while Greater Horseshoes may do a fast kneecap level flyby.

Never shine a torch on their bats entrance/exit points because this will delay emergence or prevent emergence entirely.

Will bats fly into my hair?

No! This, and “blind as a bat”, are examples of two very common myths that we often hear. Bats have good eyesight as well as great echolocation sense, in the dark they can “see” far, far better than you can see them!

However insects often home in on a heat (or food) source, like our bodies. Bats obvoiusly sense the swarm of insects around us, if you ate lucky they may often fly quite close for some “fast food”. So just keep still, so long as you you not flailing your arms around wildly, bats will easily avoid you!

Another trick when walking through long grass is to look behind you. As you walk you disturb insects, and bats are very keen on following this magic mobile food source!

Want more information?

Also have a look at the our page on the “most common and rarest Bat species in Somerset“, which has species factsheets for all the resident bats.

Got the bat bug, and want to listen in to the bats echolocation? Then have a look at our page on choosing a bat detector.