Bats are cool

Canal Boat - - News -

SOME OF THE UK’s rarest bats have, for the first time, been found hi­ber­nat­ing in a lime kiln-turned-bat cave be­side the Monmouthshire & Bre­con Canal.

Ecol­o­gists from Glandwr Cymru (the Canal & River Trust in Wales) found the pro­tected lesser horse­shoe bats in the his­toric lime kiln, con­verted for the an­i­mals back in 2013 in part­ner­ship with the Vin­cent Wildlife Trust. While bats have been found at the site be­fore, this is the first time ex­perts have been able to con­firm that the an­i­mals are us­ing the kiln to hi­ber­nate.

One of the small­est bat species in the UK, the lesser horse­shoe is also one of the coun­try’s rarest, re­ly­ing on find­ing hiber­na­tion spots that stay cold enough to al­low their body tem­per­a­ture to drop. The lime kiln, spe­cially adapted to trap cold air, pro­vides a se­cure place for the bats to spend the win­ter where they won’t be dis­turbed.

“It’s re­ally ex­cit­ing to see that the lesser horse­shoe bats are us­ing the lime kiln,” said Glandwr Cymru ecol­o­gist Dr Mark Robin­son. “When­ever we cre­ate habi­tats for wildlife along the wa­ter­ways we al­ways try to pro­vide what’s best for them, and it’s great that in this case the bats agree it’s where they want to be.

“For species like the lesser horse­shoe, dif­fer­ences of a cou­ple of de­grees can mean life or death; if they get too warm they’ll use up their en­ergy sup­plies faster and may not make it to spring.

“Con­sid­er­ing how rare these bats are, any help we can give them in pro­vid­ing safe, cool places to hi­ber­nate is a very good thing.” and white draw­ings to colour in. They in­clude fa­mous wa­ter­ways lo­ca­tions (in­clud­ing Pont­cy­syllte and Nep­tune’s Stair­case), less well-known sites such as the Ho­vis Mill in Mac­cles­field, ru­ral canal scenes, ab­stract de­signs – and plenty of ducks!

A Nar­row Es­cape jig­saw, Gib­sons, gib­son­s­games.co.uk, £9.20 Cool Canals Colour­ing, Cool Canals, cool­canals.com, £8.99 LON­DON HAS ITS Lit­tle Venice; Bruges, St Petersburg, Am­s­ter­dam and Stock­holm have all laid claim to the ti­tle Venice of the North thanks to their canals; and in the early 20th Cen­tury, Los An­ge­les ac­quired a whole Venice District com­plete with new canals thanks to a hous­ing de­vel­oper. The lat­est coun­try to at­tempt its own ver­sion of La Serenis­sima is China – where they are build­ing a tourist re­sort as a replica of the Ital­ian city with 4km of canals. But spare a thought for Hull: the lo­cal paper has re­vealed that in the 19th Cen­tury, the York­shire city toyed with the idea of re­plac­ing Queen’s Dock with an is­land sur­rounded by canals, with shops and ho­tels built in Vene­tian style, and tourists fer­ried around in gon­do­las. Sadly, they built gar­dens in­stead.

the record­ing, pro­vid­ing you with images and de­scrip­tions to help you learn more about our feathered friends.

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