WHAT TO DO
ADRIAN THOMAS RSPB wildlife gardening expert We still have so much to learn about bats. It’s amazing to think the Soprano Pipistrelle was only separated from the Common Pipistrelle in 1997, and the Alcathoe Bat was first found in the UK in 2010, but had probably been here for decades. Only a few of our 17 species are regular garden visitors, and they need to eat thousands of flying insects! That means a garden which mimics a woodland glade, with banks of trees to provide protection from the wind, plus a pond and other insect-rich habitats, stands a good chance of being a regular stop-off during a bat’s night-time wanderings. Bat boxes are well worth putting up, too; they need to be made of untreated timber, with snug joints, and ideally with two or more cavities. Put up at different heights and facing different directions, under the eaves or on tree trunks, ideally with shelter above but a clear flightline in from below. They may only be used occasionally, but bats need that choice so they can always find the optimum conditions, whatever time of year it may be.