Where to look for bats

If you’re going out to look for bats it’s worth taking a moment to think like a bat.

You’ve been cooped up all day, and at last, you can stretch your wings and go out for a meal. Where are the best fast food places and how do you get to them?

All our bats eat insects and mostly they catch them in mid-air. Flying insects like it warm
(there’s not a lot of point watch bats if it is less than 7 degrees C), humid and, above all, out of the wind. Slow flowing or still water is worth flying to, especially if it is surrounded by bushes and trees. The down-wind edges of clumps of trees and shrubs will have pockets of still air and most gardens have some places where you find swarms of gnats of an evening – perfect bat food. Mature and scruffy trees and shrubs are better than ones straight from the nursery.

As well as hearing bats feeding you may come across them “commuting”. They need to get to where the bistro is and often visit lots of eating places a night. Because they navigate by way of echolocation the small ones need something to bounce the echoes off. That is why all but the biggest bats avoid wide-open spaces where they can’t hear where they are going. Tree lines, hedges even walls give them linear features they can follow and the hedges may provide some insect tapas to help before they get to the main course. Bats do have predators so they mostly avoid bright lights and all sensible wildlife avoids arguing with motor cars.

We are not saying you won’t find bats in other places, wildlife doesn’t obey orders from us or anyone else, but keep out of the wind and in among the midges and there should be someone eating them for you.

Good luck!