Bats in The Royal Four Towns
The Royal Four Towns area provides a variety of habitat types for bats to roost and forage for their prey. This includes fields, woodlands, mature trees, tracts of uncultivated ground, the River Annan and smaller watercourses. Hedgerows and waterways provide important corridors for bats to navigate from their roost to the feeding grounds, as well as providing feeding opportunities. Wild flowers and livestock attract insects, which in turn provide food for bats – UK bats only eat flying insects (although some eat spiders).
Soprano Pipistrelles, Scotland’s smallest bat species but also the most common, roost in some local buildings and the Common Pipistrelle has also been observed roosting in the area. Daubenton’s bats – the ‘Water bat’- quarter the river to find flies and moths very close to the surface, and Noctule bats, which are Scotland’s largest bat, fly over farmland hunting for flying insects. Bats roost in mature trees, mainly broadleaved, as well as in buildings and for this reason should be retained whenever possible. Note that trees are important for insects and other animals as well for bats. Brown Longeared bats forage nearby although it is not known where they roost.
Bats and their roosts are specially protected by European Law in Scotland by the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended). Briefly, this makes it unlawful to disturb, injure or kill a bat or to damage or destroy its roost or resting place. Bats use a suitable roosting site, e.g. a loft or tree, year after year. If work needs to be carried out where bats roost it is necessary to apply for a licence, and this usually requires a bat survey to determine whether or not bats do roost there, the number and species of bats.
Bats become more fascinating the more you learn about them, so if you want to know more why not go to a talk about bats or go on a bat walk, or go to either of the following websites:
and download the Dumfries and Galloway Bat Group leaflet.