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Bat Boxes

Bat boxes are artificial roosts designed to encourage bats into areas where there are few roosting sites. There are various designs of bat box from wooden boxes you can make yourself to external ready-assembled boxes and even integrated bat boxes that can be built into walls. Different bat species need different spaces.

You can download a Bat Box Information Pack or read on to find out more:

Wooden boxes

Wooden bat boxes are usually cubic or retangular, with a grooved ‘bat ladder’ and a narrow entrance slit at the bottom. They can be nailed to trees or walls.

Below are examples of the Kent bat box. For printable instructions see bottom of page.

Kent Bat Box in situKent Bat Box in use

Making your own box

Bats do not like draughts, and prefer well insulated boxes where temperature and humidity remain constant. They also need a rough textured wood to cling to. The wood should not be treated because bats are very sensitive to chemicals. A ‘bat ladder’ or other landing area that leads to an entry slit wide enough to admit bats, but narrow enough to keep out predators is also essential, usually 15 – 20 mm. Once up, a bat box cannot be opened legally without a licence. For more information on bats and the law call the Bat Helpline (0345 1300 228).

Things to remember:

• Make sure joints are well sealed and avoid large, loose-fitting front panels.

• All timber used in bat boxes should be rough sawn (unplaned) and untreated from sustainable sources

• Keep entrance slits small (15 -20mm)

• Removable lids should not be used and the box should not be opened

External ready-made bat boxes

 There are a number of ready-made external bat boxes suitable for buildings and trees that can be purchased. These boxes can be wooden as shown above, however there are an increasing number of more durable options, such as Greenwood Ecohabitats ecostyrocrete bat box shown below.

Greenwood Ecohabitats Ecostyrocrete bat box

Integrated bat boxes

Integrated bat boxes are boxes that can be built into the walls and facade of a building. They have the advantage of offering a permanent space for bats with little maintenance and potentially better thermal properties.

Habibat integrated bat box  
Habibat 001 integrated bat box  


Putting up your box

Boxes are more likely to be used if they are located where bats are known to feed. Ideally, several boxes should be put up facing in different directions to provide a range of conditions. Boxes should be put as high as possible in sheltered sunny places. On buildings, boxes should be placed as close to the eaves as possible.Some bats use a tree line or hedgerow for navigation. Putting boxes near these features may help the bats find the box. 

Locate boxes:

• Where bats are known to feed close to hedges and tree lines

• Ideally at least 4m above the ground (where safe installation is possible)

• Sheltered from strong winds and exposed to the sun for part of the day (usually south or south-west)

Bats need time to find and explore new homes, and it may be several months or even years before boxes have residents – be patient! Once bats find a place they want to live they can return over and over again. Droppings on the landing area, urine stains around the lower parts of the box and chittering noises from inside on warm afternoons and evenings are signs of occupation.

Find out more

Bat Box Information Pack (4 MB) - 04/04/14
An introduction to bat boxes with information on designs, positioning, take up and other details.

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Bat Helpline

0345 1300 228