Bats in the home

Those bats in your house might actually be doing you a few favours so have a think before you get rid of them.

Bats like warm, dark places, so your loft could be ideal! They may also be found in cavity walls, gaps in brickwork and many other places. If you do happen to find bats in your house, be aware that bats and their roosts are protected by law.

Bat roosts

Bats tend to return to the same roosts each year, so their roosts are protected whether bats are present or not. As such, it's illegal to kill, injure or take a wild bat, or intentionally or recklessly damage, destroy or obstruct access to a bat roost.

Bats and building work

Having bats in your roof doesn't mean building work, timber treatment or the laying of insulation cannot take place but you'll need to contact the local Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (SNCO) for a free advice visit before you proceed. Occasionally roost owners may have some issues due to the presence of a bat roost, for example if the colony is well established or the roost is large or awkwardly situated, however the majority of problems can easily be resolved. Your SNCO also provides advice and support relating to this, so if you have any concerns about your roost, please do contact them. If you come across bats within a building, it is usually a strong indication that a bat roost is also present. However, occasionally bats may accidentally fly through open windows and become trapped and in need of assistance. If you have found a bat in need of help look at The Bat Conservation Trust page on containment and contact the help line on 0345 130 0228.

If you have any questions, before seeking advice please look at the following:

• Their natural habitats are being destroyed

With the clearing of woodland, the numbers of most bat species have declined. In response to this they have adapted to living in buildings and now rely so heavily on these for roosting that their conservation depends largely on our tolerance and goodwill.

• Bats aren't messy

Bats do not build nests and therefore do not bring bedding material into the roost.

• They eat insects

All bats in the UK eat insects, so they're a great form of natural pest control!

• Bat poo is safe

Though they can be unsightly, bat droppings are dry and do not putrefy, they just crumble away to dust. In Britain there is no known health risk associated with them. In the loft, the simplest and cheapest method of avoiding bat poo problems is to cover stored goods with dust-sheets, which can be brushed off every now and then.

• They cause no damage

Bats are not rodents, and will not nibble or gnaw at wood, wires or insulation.

• They're seasonal visitors

Most bats are seasonal visitors to roosts in houses – they're unlikely to live in that roost all year round, although they are loyal to their roosts and so usually return year after year.

 

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