Putting up your box

Bat 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 on sunny aspects to provide a range of warm conditions. Boxes should be put as high as possible to try and avoid predation from cats on the ground or nearby structures. On buildings, boxes should be placed as close to the eaves as possible. Bats use dark tree lines or hedgerows for navigation, so putting boxes near these features could help bats find the box.

In summary, locate boxes:

  • Where bats are known to feed and navigate (close to hedges and tree lines);
  • Ideally at least 4m above the ground (where safe installation is possible);
  • Away from artificial light sources (to protect them from predation);
  • Sheltered from strong winds; and
  • Exposed to the sun for part of the day (usually south, south-east 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.

Please note, as bats are vulnerable to disturbance and fully protected under UK law, boxes must only be opened by a licensed bat worker.

If you are unable to install a bat box yourself, your local bat group may be able to help. You can find your local bat group by clicking the link here. Please note that bat groups are run by volunteers who often have limited time or resources and may therefore not be able to help in every case.

Putting up your box

Steve Roe

Next: Maintaining your bat box