23rd August 2023

27th International Bat Night – Curtains up for the nocturnal flight artists

This weekend, thousands of people across six continents will head out at dusk to celebrate International Bat Night - here we share what all the fun is about and how to get involved…

Volunteers and professional bat workers never get tired of shining a spotlight on these fascinating mammals. Yes, you’ve got it right: bats are mammals - and a female usually gives birth to just one young pup per year, with a few species having twins. This low reproductive rate is one reason why these animals are in great need of protection.

Increasing knowledge about these fascinating animals, the threats they are facing and the many ways we can enhance bat protection are what International Bat Night is all about. The annual event began 27 years ago in Europe and is now taking place in more than 50 countries around the world.

It all started when the Eurobats Secretariat, an international group of bat conservation partners, set out to protect bat species across an Agreement area that covered Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Now, the weekend sees bat enthusiasts coming together globally and sharing their events online to bring a world of bats closer to the public.

Currently, there are 55 priority European, North African and Middle Eastern bat species covered by an international protection agreement drawn up by the Eurobats conservation group. International Bat Night will focus on spotting as many as possible, and even more globally, celebrating and sharing how amazing and important they are.

Some of the biggest and most urgent threats bats face include the loss of roosts due to renovation and restoration activities, loss of habitat areas due to changes in land use, as well as intensive forestry management. Also, direct effects of wind turbines and rapidly increasing light pollution pose great dangers to bats. Insect population declines also affect bats, as these are their main food. Bats are vital for ecosystem health too. In one night, a pipistrelle bat can eat around 1,000 mosquitoes!

27th International Bat Night – Curtains up for the nocturnal flight artists

Daubenton's bat (c) Dietmar Nill

And there is so much more we could do for these little flight artists. For example, installing various types of bat box creates new roosting opportunities. Reducing the intensity of forestry management by preserving deadwood and increasing the number of cavity trees are also good measures. In both cases the motto is: more is more!

To find out if there are any field visits, events, talks or lectures being organised in your neighbourhood, have a look at your country’s bat conservation groups, nationally and locally. Some of the events are listed on the Eurobats website and by the Bat Conservation Trust in the UK (see list of events on BCT's website here). Also look out for the #InternationalBatNight hashtag on social media and don't forget to download our pack full of ideas and inspiration here.

We wish you a great International Bat Night!