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Bat Appreciation Day | Honouring Nature's Night-time Wonders


A young pipestrelle bat

Bat Appreciation Day is celebrated on April 17th. Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital joins the global community in paying homage to these remarkable creatures who often dwell in the shadows, yet play vital roles in our ecosystems.


Bats, often misunderstood, are among nature's most efficient and essential creatures. With over 1,400 species worldwide, (18 of which are found in the UK), come in various shapes and sizes, each with unique adaptations suited to their environments. From the tiny pipistrelle bat to the long eared bat, these highly adaptable mammals contribute invaluably to maintaining ecological balance.


a long eared bat on a towel

At the heart of Bat Appreciation Day lies a profound recognition of the many ways bats benefit our planet. These nocturnal marvels are unparalleled insect controllers, consuming vast quantities of bugs and insects. Insectivorous bats are estimated to save the agricultural industry billions of dollars annually by naturally controlling insect populations, reducing the need for chemical pesticides.




DID YOU KNOW?
The common pipistrelle is so small, it can fit into a matchbox! Despite its size, it can easily eat 3,000 insects a night!

A VITAL PART OF THE DELICATE ECOSYSTEM


Additionally, many bat species serve as pollinators for numerous plants, including economically important crops such as bananas, mangoes, and agave—the primary ingredient in tequila. Without bats, the delicate balance of countless ecosystems would be disrupted, with far-reaching consequences for both wildlife and human livelihoods.


Moreover, bats are integral to the health of our forests and woodlands. By dispersing seeds and facilitating forest regeneration, frugivorous bats contribute to the diversity and resilience of these ecosystems. Their role in seed dispersal aids in the propagation of new growth, promoting biodiversity and mitigating the impacts of deforestation.


Yet, despite their immense ecological contributions, bats face numerous threats, including habitat loss, climate change, and the spread of diseases such as white-nose syndrome. As human activities continue to encroach upon natural habitats, it is imperative that we take proactive measures to protect and conserve bat populations worldwide.


 

BATS REQUIRE SPECIAL TREATMENT


With a legacy spanning over 50 years, Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital plays a vital role in safeguarding precious wildlife - the team focus on rehabilitation, conservation, education, and community engagement. The hospital provides care to dozens of sick, injured or orphaned UK bats each year. Many bats are rescued during their active period. Some have been injured by cats, others are found starving during bad weather, which means that they are unable to fly regularly and can be found 'grounded'. Bat care requires the use of specialist equipment and resources to provide the correct care to bats, helping them to recover and be released.


This little pipistrelle bat, a minuscule creature weighing merely 1.2 grams, no bigger than a 10 pence piece and estimated to be 2-3 days old.


a tiny black pipistrelle bat next to a 10 pence coin

He was brought in after the finder said he fell from the rafters in their ceiling. It is assumed that there was either a roost the finders were unaware of, or that mum came in through a window, panicked, & her baby fell off.


Mother bats often fly with their pups. The young cling to their mother's underarm nipple with their mouths and hang onto her waist with their toes. Carrying a pup often more than a third of your weight via your nipples is no small feat – that is a super strong mum!


The transition at this age from mums natural milk to artificial replacement formulas can temporarily stunt their growth, so he actually looks 1-2 days old! This won’t cause any long term effects. We consulted with our bat specialist for ongoing 1-1 rehabilitation back to the wild.


 


a pipistrelle bat on a rock

On Bat Appreciation Day, let us celebrate the resilience and diversity of bats while reaffirming our commitment to their conservation. Through education, advocacy, and habitat preservation efforts, we can ensure a brighter future for these extraordinary creatures and the ecosystems they inhabit.


Join Brent Lodge and conservation organisations worldwide in honouring one of nature's night-time wonders.



Together, let us raise awareness, dispel myths, and foster appreciation for these remarkable creatures who silently safeguard our world while we sleep. Happy Bat Appreciation Day!


By Asha Park

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