Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

What to do if you find bats in your house

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The problem with seeing one is that they weigh less than a £1 coin and are only about 4cm long.

You could hold one between your finger and thumb and hardly feel it. And yet pipistrelles are the most common of all 17 bat species in the British Isles.

The old name for a bat is “flittermouse” and this conjures up a picture of what these little creatures look like — they are minute flying mice.

Their bodies are covered with brown fur that can vary in shade from dark on the back to slightly lighter underneath.

Pipistrelles are adaptable creatures when choosing a place to hang out.

They love being near ponds and trees and they are also found frequently in urban areas.

Any safe crevice in a building will be explored and these bats can be found behind the eaves and soffits of a house or even between the tiles and roof felt.

They appear at dusk and can be seen, if you look carefully, flitting about in sudden jerky movements as they search for their prey.

A pipistrelle can eat up to 3,000 gnats in one night’s foraging.

The bat menu includes any small insect such as midges, moths, mosquitoes and mayflies.

Pipistrelles are most active between April and November, so if you’re walking the dog before bedtime, keep your eyes open around trees, bushes and ponds.

You might catch a glimpse of quick darts in the dusk.

It doesn’t matter if you are in the town or country as the creatures are everywhere they can find food.

The females form maternity colonies and give birth to one baby in June.

As they are mammals, they feed their young with milk for about four weeks until they are able to fly and forage for themselves.

Bat colonies are protected by law, so don’t disturb them because it is illegal to do so.

Although there is no immediate threat to the species, pipistrelles have declined in numbers quite considerably since the 1970s.

As is so often the case, human activity can be to blame.

The use of chemicals sprays in agriculture kills off the insects that are the staple diet of the bats.

Ancient hedges have been removed, which takes away one of the solid lines of foliage that the bats can use for navigation and hunting.

They emit calls inaudible to humans, but locate prey through a process called echolocation.

Urban redevelopment also removes nooks and crannies that the colonies might use.

Treated wood can contain substances toxic to bats. In residential areas, one of the chief hunters is the domestic cat, which can sniff out a roosting bat with ease.

So how can we help? Ponds and bushes attract the insects the bats need, and trees provide roosting shelter.

A garden that can contain these will be a four-star attraction.

The Bat Conservation Trust ( also encourages the placing of bat boxes, which should be put at least two metres above the ground.

Keeping your cat in at night is also a good idea!

If you find a bat, don’t touch it. If you think it needs help, contact the Bat Conservation Trust (0345 1300 228) for advice.


Edinburgh Zoo pandas provide poo for diet research

Adorable fuzzy penguin chicks hatch at Chester Zoo