Where Do Bats Live?
Bats live in different environments across the UK. Exactly where they might be found depends on the species of bat, the time of year and what they’re doing - looking after their babies, hunting or hibernating, for example. To survive, bats need water and insects to eat, places to hunt insects (called foraging habitats), places to hibernate, sleep and raise their babies (roosts) and safe routes between these different locations (commuting habitats).
The place a bat lives is called a roost – not a nest! Bats need different roosting conditions at different times of the year and they will often move around to find a roost that meets their needs. In summer, female bats form maternity roosts while in winter, bats use hibernation roosts. Learn more about a year in the life of a bat. Most bats in the UK evolved to live in trees and caves, but many have now adapted to roost in buildings including barns, houses, tunnels and bridges. Some of the UK's older churches have seen generations of bats return faithfully to the same roost year after year. Learn more about bats and buildings and how bat roosts are protected by the law.
You can enjoy watching bats in their homes from the comfort of yours via internet bat cams (web cams set-up in bat roosts*) that have been set up in Devon and Denbigshire:
- Devon Bat Project has a link to see greater horseshoe bats in Devon (scroll down the page and click the triangle on the left screen)
- Nantclwyd y Dre is a roost of lesser horseshoe bats in Denbighshire
The cameras are in summer maternity roosts and the best time to view them is during June, July and August. You may be suprised just how active bats can be at home during the day. If you are lucky you may even glimpse a sight of a baby bat!
* Bats and their roosts are legally protected. Please do not set-up a web cam in a bat roost without seeking appropraite advice, for example from a licenced bat worker or the relevant Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation for your part of the UK.
Out and about
All UK bats eat insects, so they need to find roosts near good foraging habitats such as pasture, woodlands or water. Bats also need good commuting habitats to help them travel safely between their roosts and foraging grounds. Because bats use echolocation to navigate, hedgerows, treelines or rivers can help them find their way more accurately – as well as sheltering them from predators. Busy roads can sever bat commuting routes and cut bats off from their preferred foraging habitat.
Want to see a bat? Click here!