Managing bats entering living areas

Bats frequently finding their way into your house or property may indicate that you have a bat roosting there. If you are unsure about whether you have a bat roost and want to know more about the signs you can find out more here. If you know you have a bat roost and are experiencing issues with bats entering the living areas please read on to find guidance on how to stop this from happening.

Bats entering the living spaces of a home on a regular basis is not a normal part of having a roost and we understand that this can be a stressful experience. Although they do have legal protection, the law does not expect people to co-exist with bats in the living areas (i.e. bedrooms, sitting room, etc.) and there is help and advice available to ensure that bats stick to their living quarters.

This is likely to only happen during the summer months, when bats are at their most active. There are a few reasons why this may be happening, which are usually very easily resolved. Our downloadable leaflets ‘Bats in Living Areas’ (for houses) and ‘Bats in Indoor areas’ (for other buildings) detail how to prevent bats from entering living areas in the future.

If you ever find a bat inside the living areas of a property, or injured or grounded anywhere, you should always check out guidance on what to do if you find a bat.

Why does it happen?

Bats have a very sophisticated system for finding their way around in the dark called echolocation, but despite this, some do end up getting trapped inside buildings. Bats are very small and need only a very small space in order to gain access which means it can sometimes be very hard to tell how a bat got in. Internally within the building there may be small gaps allowing the bat(s) to enter the living areas from a roosting site. The bats may be coming from the roost into living areas because…

It's baby bat season

Baby bats are born in the summertime, around June. These young bats are very small (less than an inch) and often seem pink as they have little fur. When their mothers go out to feed in the evening the unsupervised babies sometimes go exploring in their immediate environments and end up in living areas, having fallen through small gaps. At around three weeks, the now juvenile bats, begin to learn to fly. They use their newly developed echolocation skills to find their way back to the roost but not always successfully. Sometimes they might crawl through the wrong gap or through an open window (especially if this window is beneath the roost entrance) and end up in a room instead of a roost. This problem is unlikely to last very long as they soon develop their skills and learn to fly properly. By six weeks most young bats begin to catch insects for themselves and no longer need their mothers’ milk. The bats will begin to disperse as the summer ends around August.

Managing bats entering living areas

Small pink pup in the hand

Managing bats entering living areas

Mum and pup

The bats external access has been blocked

Sometimes moving items around in the loft will inadvertently block the bats' access point(s). A bat access point is the external gap that forms the entrance the bats use to reach their roosting location within the building. Blocking this entrance forces the bats to search for an alternative exit route (through the house). If you think this might have happened we would recommend that you carefully move items away from the eaves and roof slopes.

Repair works undertaken, for example soffit/fascia replacements, or retiling have the potential to block external access points. If you have recently carried out building works which may have affected the bats’ access point(s) you will need to speak to your Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (SNCO) for further advice. They will be able to advise on how the access point(s) can be restored and solve the problem of bats entering living areas.

Bats are entering through open windows

Sometimes bats may mistakenly fly through open windows when hunting insects, particularly those that are hinged at the top. Bats can also get caught out by sudden rainfall and may seek temporary cover through open windows. These are often isolated incidences and don't necessarily mean that there is a roost near the property. However, it does suggest that there is a colony within the local area or your property is surrounded by good foraging habitat.

If you ever find a bat inside the living areas of a property, or injured or grounded anywhere, you should always check out guidance on what to do if you find a bat.

Your cat may have brought in the bat

People are often surprised to find out that their cat may be the culprit, however it is well documented that cats are very skilled at catching bats.

Cats commonly catch bats in the summer, and like other prey, may bring them inside the house. In fact, cat attacks are unfortunately one of the most common causes of bat casualties. This leaflet provides guidance on how to prevent your cat from catching and bringing in bats.

Still having issues?

If you are still finding that bats are frequently entering living areas after following all the advice in our leaflets, you may need some personalised advice to help find a solution. Click on the button below for more help.

This advice provided by the National Bat Helpline is only possible thanks to the generosity of people like you. Our vital advice service helps thousands of people by providing advice for free, this in turn saves thousands of bats every year. Partial funding from Natural England helps cover some of our running costs, but it does not cover everything. Your donation will help ensure our small team can continue to provide assistance and a lifeline for bats.

Please click here for more information and to donate

Next: Managing droppings and urine