21st August 2013
Take a walk on the wildside this bank holiday, Saturday 24th of August. It's International Bat Night - a night set aside for celebrating the only mammal that actually learned to fly.
It's the perfect time of year to spot them as this years young have just taken to the wing!
In the UK there are events taking place up and down the country - It's a great weekend for a bat walk, go out and use bat detectors to discover the secret sounds the bats make socialising and feeding on the wing.
Head to our guide to UK bats to help establish which British bats you are most likely to see and those you are least likely to encounter over this weekend.
Lisa Worledge of the Bat Conservation Trust says :-
"International bat night falls at the height of summer. If people are planning to get outdoors during the bank holiday weekend they should look skywards at dusk. Bats are magical creatures and they need our help. British bats drastically declined in numbers over the last century due to changes in farming practice, pesticide use, urban development and persecution.
Bat groups and the BCT work tirelessly to protect bats and educate all ages about these amazing mammals. This is a great weekend to get outdoors at dusk and see just what makes bats so special !"
TEN GREAT BAT FACTS FOR INTERNATIONAL BAT WEEKEND.
- A pipistrelle can munch between 3000 and 4000 midges in a single night's hunting. They are small enough, with wings folded, to fit comfortably in a match box!
- Bats echolocate, like dolphins use sonar, using sound to 'see.' They emit high pitched sounds and listen for the echo. That's why in pictures of them, they always have their mouths open.
- Bats aren't blind. Bats will never get tangled in your hair - they can see and will also use echolocation to avoid you! Even good eyes struggle at night - echolocation helps them navigate and feed.
- All the UK's bats eat insects, around the world other bats feed on nectar and fruit helping pollinate flowers and plants. Some feed on fish! Only three species of Vampire bat exist and they're all found in South America and lap, not suck, small quantities of blood typically from cattle.
- Bats aren't rodents. Their DNA is more like a human's than a mouse. They don't nest and they only have one young a year.
- Bats are long-lived - some live as long as 30 years and they are loyal to their roost sites.
- The smallest bat is called the Bumblebee bat is just 29-33mm in length and a weight of 2 grams.
- In the UK the only bats that hang upside-down wrapped in their wings are the lesser and greater horseshoe bats.
- There is only one known greater mouse-eared bat in the UK. He has been spotted in annual bat surveys for the last ten years.
- Grey long-eared bats are one of the rarest creatures in the UK. They are known as the whispering bat as they echolocate very quietly to avoid revealing their presence to prey. Their huge ears mean they can hear very well so don't need to be too loud. Their cousins, the brown long-eared bat, can hear a ladybird walking along a leaf!
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
ABI MCLOUGHLIN Bat Conservation Trust Press officer.
0207 8207183 / 07954545531 email@example.com
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