In the middle of the night, when all the day-time animals have gone to bed, a whole new group of creatures start to emerge from their slumber. Nocturnal species are perfectly adapted to take advantage of the dark conditions of night and bats are one of the most advanced night-time animals you can find. These small, flying mammals can be seen coming to life at dusk in spring and summer as the dart effortlessly through the air. But where do bats sleep during the long day?
As bats are most active at night, they are unable to see their prey with their eyes so rely on using sound and echolocation to hear where their food is. Because they are used to the dark, they do not like light places. When roosting during the day they prefer somewhere out of sight. This protects them from predators but more importantly protects them from the strong light and heat of the sun.
In the UK there are 17 different species of bat. Each species has its own preference to where it spends the night. Some bats choose to sleep in the hollows of trees, some prefer caves and others pick a mixture of different homes throughout the year. In winter, bats need to find a home to hibernate in. They often hibernate in underground caves because of the stable conditions found there.
Some bats will also shelter in man-made structures. Canal and railway bridges and roof spaces can offer an excellent stop-over site. You can go one step further to help your local bats by buying a bat box. Unlike a bird box, the entrance is at the bottom, as bats are used to climbing upwards to head to bed. Placing a bat box on a tree or building offers them the perfect sleeping space. As many of the UK’s bats are endangered, this is a brilliant way to help conserve and learn more about these fascinating night-time animals.
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Take care, and stay on the wild side.