Bats are legally protected throughout the European Union. In the UK, the first major legislation protecting bats was passed in 1982. The laws made it illegal for unlicensed individuals to harbor or harm bats, including bat colonies, inside human habitats. If you want to remove the bats, you will need to get permission from the Nature Conservancy Council and hire professionals like arbtech.co.uk to move them. Why are bats getting this level of protection? This is because of the important role bats play in our ecosystem.
1. Pest Control
All 16 species of bats in the United Kingdom are insectivorous. In layman’s terms, this means that the British bat species feed on insects. One bat will eat anywhere from two thousand to six thousand insects in a single night. The smallest of the British bats, the Pistrel, will eat up to 3000 insects in a single night.
This makes them incredibly useful for naturally controlling populations of mosquitoes and other flying insects. They can also control insects that feed on crops. If you increase the number of bats in an area, you reduce the need for pesticides. On the other hand, widespread use of insecticides can leave bats without sufficient food or as a result they can eat insects containing these venoms. Get rid of sticky insect strips, as they can die if caught in them.
In other parts of the world, bats pollinate flowers and spread seeds while eating fruit. The destruction of hedgerows and timber on agricultural land cost British bats their food source. Instead, it deprives them of their preferred places for resting (roosting) and hunting. They prefer to roam in caves or trees, although some, like the common pipistrel, can settle in almost any building.
On the other hand, deforestation and removal of wild flowers harm the insect-eating bats. Bats prefer to eat moths that eat wild flowers. Note that this means that building a bat house can help protect your wildflower garden. In fact, a bee-friendly garden is already bat-friendly. Simply set up a bat house where predators such as cats cannot reach it or leave the bats alone in a garden shed. Leave hedges and shade trees alone. They provide navigation aid for bats, as they rely on echolocation and large tracts of grass and concrete are confusing for them.
3. As a Biodiversity Marker
There are eighteen species of bats in Britain. Nine of them are on the Red List for UK mammals because of their relative rarity or rate of decline. The remaining species are rare except for the common pipistrel and the soprano pipistrel. (These two species account for 80 percent of all bats in the UK.)
The number and diversity of bats in an area is an indicator of the health of the local habitat. Bats are vulnerable to disturbances, whether it is the renovation of old buildings or the removal of mature trees. They are troubled by the construction of roads, the construction of new buildings and the replacement of grasslands with monoculture croplands. On the other hand, there is an increase in the number of bats around ponds, lakes and slow flowing rivers. The soprano prefers Pipistrel Wetlands. They are confused by bright external lights. People may push them out of their attics or other buildings to leave settlement sites and even drop off their children. Bechstein’s bats and Barbastel’s bats are capable of living only in pristine woodlands, so their decline is linked to the loss of these forests.
Note that all bats require safe havens, pastures, and safe passages between these two locations. If any of these three things are affected, the bat population will decrease. That’s why bat numbers and range are an indicator of the health of a given ecosystem.
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