OUR NEXT BAT INSTALMENT FROM
I received a request to send further photos and info. re my Brown long-eared bat’s progress. He isn’t a Tollard bat, though we do have Brown long-eared bats here. Just to catch up, and as mentioned previously: I met up with the finder in Shaftesbury, and I have included a photo of him snoozing in his faunarium, it shows his little legs, curled up tail and toes and was taken a couple of days after he had been rescued. As mentioned, it appears as if he had been cat attacked as his right ear was badly torn, with just a tiny bit of skin holding it together. I had hoped the tear might heal, but a week later he removed the tissue himself whilst grooming.
The other photos show a close-up of face, and the edges of his ear are now slowly healing. I am hoping that as the injury is closer to the top of his ear, it will not affect his hunting abilities. In order to keep his wing muscles toned and to help with the healing process; over the past few weeks he has been flown regularly here at home, and last night was flown in a large purpose-built bat flight. Am pleased to report that he flew strong and well and, as the weather is now improving, I look forward to releasing him back to the wild over the next few days.
There are 18 species of bats in the UK and each have their own dietary niches: and they each have various hunting techniques. All hunt on the wing whilst others will also take insects and beetles from the ground.
As the sun goes down, tiny Pipistrelle bats are often the first to be seen as they dart, twist and turn and fly above our gardens. One Pipistrelle bat can live to 15+ years of age and will catch thousands of midges and insects in a night; bats truly are our friends and our lives would be miserable without them.
Brown long-eared bats can live up to 40 years of age and favour woodland for hunting. Flying along woodland rides and under tree canopies they are the more secretive bats, and are also known as ‘gleaners’.
Brown long-eared bats will hover and flutter under the tree canopy; looking and listening… using their large ears and large dark eyes to find insects such as spiders and moths perched on tree bark, vegetation, or hidden on the underside of leaves. Our long-eared bats have evolved to whisper their echolocation – hence most moths cannot hear them approaching. With their large ears these bats can hear the soft whispering echo as it bounces back from the unsuspecting prey.
Our other bat species are known as ‘hawkers’. These bats have a sleeker, more streamlined body with a shorter, denser coat and they use speed and stealth as they hunt in open spaces, often above the tree tops. The Daubenton’s bat is usually the bat you will see close to water. They forage for midges and mayflies above lakes and rivers, often taking prey directly from the water surface.
From June onwards, female bats usually give birth to a single bald pup, which they feed on their milk. Young bats are very small, less than an inch long, and as they grow they initially develop a grey fur suede-like coat.
With the sharp drop in temperature causing a lack of insects throughout March and April it is thought that births may be slightly delayed this year. Pregnant bats are particularly vulnerable from predation by cats and from mid June to the end of August they are caring for and feeding their pups. For this reason, at this time of year, it is crucially important to keep cats indoors. Bring them in half an hour before sunset and if its not possible to keep them in overnight, only let them out an hour after sunset.
Please do whatever you can to help our bats and other wildlife. Planting a garden that is good for insects is also extremely good for our bats and birds.
Ed: Another really great article Su – as part of our Street Scene Conservation programme we are hoping to put up bat boxes in the common areas to help our lovely bats. Brilliant job rescuing this little beauty.
(A very modest Su has no idea I have written the following:-)
Things you may not know about Su:-
Su has always loved nature and is a self taught artist. She won her “first” first prize in 1989 having entered a competition in Dorset Art Magazine with her Dandie Dinmont terrier pencil drawing.
Su graduated in 1988 with a HND in “Natural History Illustration” and her fine art can be found in private collections all over the world.
Su has dedicated her life to the protection of animals, the environment and conservation. Su’s Wolf artwork can be found in two books “A New Era for Wolves and People” and the “World of Wolves” which were launched at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust in Reading.
This is just a fraction of Su’s incredible achievements. If you haven’t had a look at Su’s artwork or want to know about Su then click HERE. Not only is she a breathtaking artist but her work in conservation is amazing. Karen