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How to make a bat box

If you are at a loose end on a weekend why not spend some time creating a home for one of our most elusive animals…bats. As the only true flying mammals in the world (some species of squirrels glide but that’s just pretending) many people believe that bats nest when in fact they roost.

Suitable roosting places can be an important factor in ensuring that bats are present in an area and you really do want bats as neighbours since each tiny bat can consume a third of its body weight in insects every night. Of course, the wonder of watching their aerial acrobatics as they chase and catch their tiny prey can be a reward in itself. There is a myriad of bat boxes available commercially and an equal number of bat box designs that you can make yourself. Wooden bat boxes are usually cubic or wedgeshaped, with a grooved ‘bat ladder’ and a narrow entrance slit at the bottom. They can be nailed to trees or walls.Regardless of which design you go for there are a few of basic rules of thumb that should be followed:

·       Bats don’t like draughts so make sure the bat box is tight fitting

·       Any wood used in the construction must be untreated and rough sawn

·       Keep the entrance small (15-20mm)

·       Once up (at least 4m off the ground) do not disturb

One of the simplest and most effective designs was created by the Kent Bat Group and is accordingly named the Kent Bat Box. This is made out of four rectangular pieces of wood and six rails. You can find full details of how to make this and other bat boxes as well as advice on where to hang your bat boxes from the Bat Conservation Trust website.