Habitat

It is important to provide the correct planting and landscape features to attract and support bats.

Important features include:

  • Shelter
  • Foraging resources (areas supporting insects)
  • Linear features such as hedges, tree-lines and waterways
  • Connectivity between habitats and bat roosting areas
  • Lack of artificial lighting

Around roosts

If possible plant or maintain vegetation around the roost (without completely obscuring access points). This enables the bats to emerge directly into cover, protecting them from predators and allowing them to emerge earlier and thus forage for longer. Planting a range of trees and shrubs will help to provide cover throughout the active season.

Ensure that artificial lighting from surrounding buildings or security lamps does not spill onto roost entrances or bat flight paths. Screen roads leading to or around roost buildings with vegetation or fencing to prevent glare from car headlamps on roost entrances.

Wider landscape

Bats often use features such as hedgerows, tree lines, and waterways as commuting pathways between roosts and foraging areas. Sheltering vegetation, such as tree lines, not only acts as cover from potential predators and the weather, but also provides structure for acoustic orientation and navigation. Sheltered areas also allow insects to gather and therefore support bat forging. Activities which affect these bat flyways are likely to have consequences for bats.

Maintaining or creating good foraging areas for bats means establishing areas that attract
insects, especially nocturnal insects. The highest densities of bats occur where insects are most plentiful. These habitat features include rivers, ponds, unimproved grassland, ancient semi-natural woodland and hedgerows planted with native vegetation. See BCT’s Encouraging Bats document and the Landscaping for Bats document for more information.

Steps to enhance the landscape for bats:

  • Maintain and create new sheltering features such as woodland blocks and tree belts
  • Maintain and grow hedgerows to create a well connected landscape.
  • Replant woodland around water courses and fence river and stream banks to encourage the growth of sheltering vegetation.
  • Create culverts or unlit underpasses on roads.
  • Create green bridges (vegetation links) on existing roads - the vegetation will provide cover for the bats to cross roads safely.