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How to make your garden more bat-friendly

  • Difficulty - High - Adult focused
  • Wildlife Connections Guide
  • Habitat - Fruit Bat Forest

Bats are absolutely brilliant, sometimes you will see them flying around your garden. There are 17 different types of bat in the UK.

To encourage bats to use your garden and get to see them more, you could turn it into a bat safe haven by putting up a bat box for them to roost in and plant flowers to encourage lots of insects for them to eat.

You can buy or make your own bat box. Building a bat box is easy and really good fun! They come in lots of shapes and sizes and could provide bats with a safe place to sleep in the daytime and even have their pups.

The RSPB have a very simple guide on how to make a bat box here.

What you'll need

  • Untreated rough wood
    • About 20mm, cut into 5 pieces. The back panel (33cm high x 10cm wide), the front panel (14cm high x 10cm wide), the roof (20cm x 10cm) and the sides (20 x 15 x 14cm).
    • The sides need to be cut sloping so that the roof sits on at an angle and the rain water can run off.
    • The bat box has no bottom, so the bats can fly in and out easily.
  • The rougher the better as this will allow the bats to grip. If the wood is not rough, you could cut some groves into the wood, creating ledges for the bats to hold on to.
  • Use nails & a hammer or screws & a screwdriver to fix all of the pieces together. Make sure the pieces are together tightly as bats don’t like draughts. 
  • A ladder and a grown up to attach your bat box to the wall or a tree (you could use brackets to attach the box to the wall).

Choosing the location of your bat box

  • Attaching the bat box as high up as possible around 4 to 5m up on the side of your house or on a tree, will ensure safety from predators such as cats.
  • South/south-westerly direction to ensure roughly 6-10 hours of sunlight a day. 

Making sure there’s plenty of food for the bats…

British bats eat insects so keeping or planting hedgerows, bushes, a variety of flowers and a compost heap are great ways to encourage lots of insects for the bats to eat.

What to do next

Now that you've made your garden more bat-friendly it's really important to us that you let us know using this form (you can upload a photo too).

Record your action

By keeping track of where amazing people like you are creating wildlife friendly spaces we can see the impact we're having.

And don't forget to keep recording the wildlife you see in your local area here: www.chesterzoo.org/record

References

RSPB - Build a bat box

Image courtesy of Mike Castle