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Batty about Bats

November 1, 2016

Bats are scary, or at least that is what a lot of people think. Many people have the image of bats flying into their hair and sucking the blood of unsuspecting victims! When in reality they do very little, if anything, scary.

As part of our training, all the trainees went to live on on Brownsea Island for a week. Of an evening we would go strolling around the island searching for wildlife, and of particular interest were the bats.  However as bats can be difficult to see, needed help to find them and this came in the form of bat detectors. These are small devices that detect the echolocation signals of bats and converts them into audible frequencies.

As you walk along holding the bat detector, a gentle, but slightly eerie white noise, can be heard when no bats are present. Then suddenly the bat detector starts making these loud distinct clicking noises.Occasionally a bat would swoop down inquisitively over your head, using their echolocation to map your body. The detector would sound like a machine gun firing off as the bat comes close then swoops away.

As it is Halloween, visitor centres have been running bat events. At Lorton, we went on a bat trail around the reserve followed by some bat crafts. One of my favourite facts I learnt on the day was that a Noctule bat is as loud as a jet engine – the loudest mammal in the UK!

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Halloween Bats at Lorton – Copyright: Steph Aburrow

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Crafting Creepy Bats – Copyright: Steph Aburrow

Meanwhile Hazel, the East Dorset trainee, has also been busy telling people about bats this week.

She says ‘ My week was all about bats! It was Wild About Gardens week from the 24th to 28th and this year’s theme was bats. Halloween was coming up too – a night that people have associated bats with since they were portrayed in the Dracula films of old.  This gave me the perfect opportunity to get out in the community to talk about these wonderful creatures of the night and inform people how they can help protect and conserve them. I had two bat themed craft activity sessions in libraries last week with groups of enthusiastic children making flapping bats and bat masks.  As I type this I am about to head out on a bat walk and talk – people will be joining us to learn about bats, using bat detectors to try and listen to these incredible animals communicating and hunting!’

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Copyright: Hazel Pitwood

Happy Haunting,

Steph Aburrow
Heritage Lottery Funded Wildlife Skills trainee with DWT Mid Dorset team

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