Monday night was National Bat Night, and we had a wonderful evening learning all about bats here at Loch of the Lowes. After an informative presentation from one of our Visitor Centre team, the weather was on our side and gave us the perfect opportunity to take our visitors out to try their hand at bat detecting. Thankfully our bats did not disappoint, and multiple soprano pipistrelles put on an aerial display for us, allowing everyone to practice what we had just been taught. Several daubentons bats could also be seen skimming along the surface of our Loch, testing everyone’s identification skills as they flew alongside the pipistrelles! Here are some of the interesting bat facts that our visitors learnt:
- bats account for more than a quarter of UK mammal species.
- our daubentons bat can fly up to 15mph.
- flying foxes are the largest bat species in the world, with wingspans up to 2 metres. The bumblebee bats are the world’s smallest mammal, weighing only 2 grams.
- there are 2 major groups of bats, the megabats and the microbats. BUT some megabats are small and some microbats are big!
As we move towards September bats begin to disperse for the start of the mating season, and they also turn their attention to building up fat reserves for the coming winter. It is still an excellent time to see bats in the evening, so whether you are experienced or not, I encourage you to get outside and enjoy watching these wonderful animals before they disappear into hibernation for the winter.
If you are interested in learning more about bats and would like to actively participate in their conservation why not join your local bat group, details of which can be found on the Bat Conservation Trust website www.bats.org.uk. There are also opportunities to contribute to the National Bat Monitoring Programme for people with all ranges of abilities, from complete novices to the more experienced with their own bat detector.
Charlotte Fleming, Volunteer Assistant Ranger.