Bats for Halloween

I have been saving this post for halloween. My son actually spotted this bat in the workshop two weeks ago and I ran to get the camera. It isn’t the best shot, but the bat flew into a tiny gap between the wooden window frame and the wall and vanished before I could get a decent shot.

Bat

Bat

I wasn’t sure which bat it was. We have nine bats in Ireland and I thought it was too big to be a Pipistrelle of which we have three (Common, Soprano and Nathusius). The Nathusius’ Pipistrelle is only a recent discovery and so far the only breeding population has been recorded in Northern Ireland (in 1997), though it has been recorded in other counties on bat detectors. It amazing how little we know about bats here in Ireland.

I sent the photo to a couple of ‘bat expert’ friends but they have come back with two possible answers – either a Leisler’s or one of the pips.

We regularly see bats flying around our house and up and down the hedgerows of the little road that runs past the house. I’d love to get my hands on a bat detector to find out exactly which species they are.

I have been lucky to have been involved as a volunteer on two bat projects. The first was when we lived in the UK near Thetford Forest. Here they had numerous bat boxes in the forest which were checked once a year and all the bats were recorded. Individual bats were marked with numbered rings, the same as those used to identify birds. It was a great way to get really close to these amazing creatures.

Bat from bat box in Thetford forest

Bat from bat box in Thetford forest

The other project was a night time one, so all we got to see were the bats leaving their roost. This was here in Ireland and these were very special Lesser Horseshoe bats. It’s the only horseshoe bat we have in Ireland and it is at its most westerly and northery limit in terms of population distribution. In this project, a number of the bats were fitted with radio tags and we got to track them through the night. I’m not a great person for staying up late but I really enjoy this night-time field work. The world is so different in the dark. You can check out the Vincent Wildlife Trust page for more information on the lesser horseshoe bat –

http://www.mammals-in-ireland.ie/species/lesser-horseshoe-bat

Wishing you all a Happy Halloween!

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6 thoughts on “Bats for Halloween

  1. Robbie

    Happy Belated Halloween:-) My son came home from college, so my week since friday was filled-missed this post. I love my bats. I am so weird, I will go out at night and sit outside just before dusk with a glass of wine to “watch the bats” fly up high. My husband and I sit out there and count them! They are so useful to the health of an area.
    funny story—when we first moved into our home,I left the screen out of the window one night. I was washing windows that day + forgot to put it back -not anymore! My oldest daughter was heading off to college the next week + all week she keep saying a “bat” f lying in her bedroom. I thought she was kidding, for we could not find the little guy—- until one night my husband woke me up + said, “Robbie, there is a bat flying over you-lay still”…YIKES…we caught him and we took him outside. Before he flew away we stood and admired this amazing creature!!!
    Now I make sure my window is closed at night + screen is in-lol
    sometimes if a neighbor is over at night sitting outside with us, I point out the bats + they want to head inside right away-silly for they are up high in the trees and don’t bother us..they are so crucial to our planet!

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    Reply
    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      You’re definitely not weird for liking bats. You’re cool! I don’t understand people who are afraid of these wonderful animals. I suppose there are too many wrong myths out there about them. They certainly won’t get caught in your hair, because they are not blind and can fly in total darkness using sonar to navigate. They are over 1000 bat species worldwide and only three are vampire bats. They are only found in South America and are very small and will not purposely attack humans.

      Great to have family home for the holidays! Enjoy.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Robbie

        I know and it is so cool that they eat all the bugs that bother us! Right before dusk they “ZIP” across the sky. It is soooo cool!
        Last summer I was visting my parents ( they live in up north on acreage-not city dwellers) + they had one in sneak in the open door while we were all standing around one evening + it was zipping around. My son was with me-home from college + we were ducking until he said-” the bat won’t run into you”-lol..he is studying physics in graduate school-silly us!

        Liked by 1 person

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