Bat Conservation Trust

A night in the life of a bat

As part of our Summer Appeal we have chronicled a night in the life of a bat to give everyone an idea of the challenges these little guys face every night!

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Registered Charity in England and Wales (1012361)

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    Helping

Location

Situation

9pm Fly out of the roost for the first time this evening. The weather is warm but there’s not many insects about. Humans seem to keep on building over our favourite places. There used to be a great pond and garden down the road. Even on a windy night you’d get a bit of shelter and reasonable feeding there, on a good night you could have a real feast, but that disappeared a few months ago. Flew around like a demented gnat as there was a new street light where the pond used to be and it threw me off my direction for a while so then I decided to stay close to home. I managed to pick up a few moths and now I’m tucked up for a while with my baby. I just hope it’s good when I head out later, the baby’s a bit grizzly and hungry. 11pm What a night! Am I glad to be safe back in the roost. Flying back in, the neighbour’s cat was lurking about on the garage roof. It’s an absolute menace. There is nothing worse than hearing the baby calling inside and having to watch for the cat. Safely tucked in now, baby feeding (as usual) and I’m shattered. 1am The roost is all really upset. The cat caught and killed one of us and tore the wing of another. It was the usual thing; the cat waiting on the garage roof either as we fly out or at swarming time on the way in. It’s heart breaking to hear the orphan crying for its mum and there is nothing any of us can do to help it. It’s all we can do to feed our own baby. We can’t take on an extra hungry mouth. The injured bat got back into the roost and back to her baby. She might just survive if conditions for flying and feeding are good. The tear on her wing looks like it might heal but if we get cold weather and little insect food I don’t think she’ll make it and we’ll have another orphan. 2am Had to go out again despite cold windy weather. I reckon summer is coming later every year, some of the oldsters are saying the same thing and think it’s one step forwards and two steps back these days. The trees come into leaf and you think it’s summer and then you are back to winter the next day. You don’t know whether to wake up or hibernate. Food used to be so much better as there was more choice of insects, bigger numbers of insects and they tasted better. 4am The roost got too cold and we all had to flit. Just as we got near the new site two babies got dropped. They were too heavy to be picked up for a vertical take-off. Their mothers were frantic. They tried over and over to take off with their baby but just could not do it, eventually it was getting light and the mums had to leave the babies or risk their own lives. Something really weird happened though. A human rescued them. Apparently she gave them water to drink, kept them warm all day and then came back a little later and put them on the wall just under the exit. The youngsters were shouting their heads off. You can imagine the excitement in the roost. We could not believe our ears. We all went wild, shouting and encouraging them to crawl up the wall back to their mothers. It was pandemonium. We all believed we’d never see, smell or hear those two again so you’ve never heard as much chatter or seen as much grooming as went on that night. Guzzle guts is doing well. He has started stretching his wings and trying to fly. Give him a week or two and I think he’ll be airborne. It’s exciting and terrifying the thought of taking him out on his first flight. I hope that cat doesn’t come around here to this roost. Part of me will be so glad to have him weaned and give me a bit of time for myself and of course the other part will worry like mad about what he’s doing, is he getting enough to eat, will he get fat enough to survive winter, who is he hanging about with – just normal worries for a mum I guess.

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