Building a bat box
As well as being one of the most threatened types of mammal in Britain, bats are also among the most misunderstood. Far from being nasty dangerous animals, they are attractive small, furry insect eaters which need all the help they can get!
Bats need a range of roosting sites, including summer daytime roosts, winter hibernation ones and breeding sites. You can help them find a suitable roost by putting up a simple bat box. Just follow the guidelines.
- Make the box from rough sawn timber to give the bats something to cling to. Make sure the wood is untreated - many wood preservatives can kill bats!
- The best place to position a bat box is on a tree. Place them in groups round three sides of a tree - bats like to move from one box to another during the day and from season to season as temperatures change.
- Put the boxes as high as possible above the ground to avoid predators - some species of bat such as noctules prefer roosts at least 5 metres off the ground.
- Clear away surrounding branches to give them a clear flight path.
- Boxes can also be located on buildings. A good position is under the eaves to protect them from bad weather.
Bats can take a while to investigate new premises, but if your box is not occupied within three years, try moving it. You can check if the box is being used by looking for crumbly brown or black droppings on the ground.
Dimensions in centimetres
Positioning bat boxes
It is illegal to disturb any bat when it is roosting, or to kill, injure or handle a bat without a licence. If your bat box is occupied or you find a sick or injured bat, then contact your local wildlife trust or bat group.