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Bat Boxes

There's nothing quite like the feeling of sitting in the garden on a summer's evening, watching daylight turn to dusk and bats begin to fill the night sky.

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Field Guide - Bats
£5.95
Aristotle Oasis Wildlife Bath
£19.95
National Trust Glamis Bat Box
£11.95

Bats are remarkable creatures that have long fascinated humans with their unique characteristics and behaviours. Unfortunately, bats face various threats in the UK, including habitat loss, disturbance of roosts, and pesticide use. As their natural habitats diminish, our gardens are increasingly vital in providing bats with essential resources such as food, water, and shelter, establishing them as fascinating creatures that often reside near us. Click here to learn more about our wonderful UK bats.

Is it worth putting up a bat box?

Bat boxes, also known as bat roosting boxes or bat houses, can be a valuable tool in supporting bat conservation efforts. While bats naturally roost in a variety of places, such as tree hollows, caves, and buildings, the installation of bat nest boxes can provide additional roosting opportunities, particularly in areas where suitable natural roosting sites are limited or have been lost due to habitat destruction or urbanisation.

What UK bats will use a bat box?

Out of the 18 species of bats living in the UK, 12 are known to roost and/or nest in bat boxes. Below is a list of bats that may use your bat box. 

  • Barbastelle
  • Bechstein's bat
  • Brandt's bat
  • Brown long-eared bat
  • Common pipistrelle
  • Daubenton's bat
  • Leisler's bat
  • Nathusius' pipistrelle
  • Natterer's bat
  • Noctule
  • Soprano pipistrelle
  • Whiskered bat

Are bat boxes a good idea?

Yes! bats are arguably the best garden animal to have! For instance, they require no feeding as their diet consists of insects, which makes them fantastic pest controllers come midges/mosquito season. Did you know? Britain's most common bat, the Pipistrelles, weighs around 5 grams (same as a 20p piece) and can still eat a whopping 3,000 insects in just one night!

Bats also hold a special place in the ecosystem, playing essential roles in pollination, seed dispersal, and insect control. 

Where should a bat box be placed?

To maximise the likelihood of attracting bats to a bat box, careful consideration should be given to its placement. Ideally, the bat box should be mounted on a pole or tree at a height of 10-15 feet above the ground to provide bats with easy access. Select a location that receives several hours of direct sunlight each day, preferably facing south to maximise warmth. Protection from strong winds and heavy rainfall is essential, so choose a spot near the edge of a forest or woodland.

How do I attract bats to my bat box?

Attracting bats to your bat box involves creating an environment that caters to their needs and preferences. Firstly, carefully select the location, ensuring it is away from bright lights, noisy areas, or heavy human traffic to minimise disturbance. Make sure there's a nearby water source for drinking and feeding, as bats rely on water accessibility. A shallow water dish regularly topped up with clean water will be the perfect source for them to keep hydrated. Surrounding vegetation plays a vital role, providing habitat and foraging opportunities. However, be mindful not to obstruct the flight path to the bat box with vegetation. By following these guidelines, you can create an inviting habitat that increases the likelihood of bats using your bat box as a roosting site.

Do bat houses need to be cleaned?

Yes, bat houses need cleaning once a year to maintain their effectiveness and ensure the health of the bats using them. Over time, bat guano (droppings), debris, and other materials can accumulate inside the bat house, which may deter bats from using it or even pose health risks to the bats. The best time to clean out bat boxes is typically during the winter months when bats are not actively using them for roosting- this is usually between November and February. Cleaning out bat boxes during this time minimises the risk of disturbing bats and ensures that the boxes are ready for the upcoming bat roosting season in spring. You can find all the cleaning equipment to clean your bat boxes in our Cleaning and Hygiene Category.

How else can I help UK bats?

If you want to take it one step further and be the ultimate wildlife warrior, grab those gardening tools! Planting night-scented flowers will help attract bats' insect prey. Here are some gorgeous flowers to choose from:

  • Angel's trumpet
  • Hesperis matronalis
  • Night phlox
  • Petunia
  • Wisteria
  • Star jasmine