Bats are cool
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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