Wildlife Blog: Have you seen your local bats?
There are now 1400 species of bat found worldwide, accounting for 20% of all mammal species and can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
Here in the UK, we have 17 breeding species out of a total 18 (up to 10 have been identified in Milton Keynes), who are the best pest controllers we can ever have. However, with the ever-declining rate of insect species this has unfortunately led to the decline in the bats main source of food. But we know they can recover, and they need your help!
To help bats and other wildlife in Milton Keynes, here are some simple things that you can do:
- Reduce your pesticide and herbicide use.
- Embrace nature in your garden by creating a bug hotel.
- Create a washing-up bowl sized pond.
- Leave scruffy edges around your garden or cut your grass less.
- Try and use local organic produce as much as you can.
For more information on gardening for bats please visit the Bat Conservation Trust website.
Where can I see bats in Milton Keynes?
At this time of year there is more bat activity in the night sky with juvenile pups learning to feed for themselves and adults seeking mates. They will be starting to fatten up in preparation for the autumn swarming and winter hibernation.
Bats can be found in all of our parklands but the best places to check out are along the river corridors, woodlands and the Grand Union Canal. From Great Linford Manor Park to Stony Stratford Nature Reserve and the Floodplain Forest. Walton and Furzton Lakes are also good spots to see these amazing stars of the night, go out around sunset and usually 30 minutes after, pipistrelles begin to emerge to feed on 3000 insects per night!
Due their super functioning metabolism bat species have an amazing ability to adapt and are able to host a number of viruses and remain unaffected by them. Still, the likelihood of anything being transferred is extremely low, plus a special wildlife licence is required to handle bats.
We have a few bat walk events coming up at the end of the summer but many have sold out fast due to restricted places due to social distancing. Keep an eye on our events page for cancellations.
Don’t forget to celebrate International Bat Night from 29 - 30 August 2020!