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Keeping bats on our radar

A pipistrelle bat at Threave sits on a stone surface, its wings folded in.
Pipistrelle bat
At number 25 on our 100 Ways list is our commitment to the conservation of Scottish wildlife by looking after the bats that live in our places.

With more than 270 historical buildings, 38 important gardens and 76,000 hectares of land across the country in our care, we have more than a few places where bats like to hang out.

Across Scotland, we have ten members of staff who are licensed to work with bats. These include countryside rangers, ecologists and building surveyors. They’re specially trained to handle and care for bats, perform surveys of estates, inspect bat roosts if required, and deal with young stray bats if they become isolated from a main roost.

To help protect these animals, our work is shedding new light on the behaviour of these flying mammals and how they navigate and forage for food across various landscapes.

We’ve also surveyed our properties so that whenever any maintenance is being carried out, we know where bats are living and can ensure that their homes aren’t damaged.

Rob Dewar, Nature Conservation Advisor says: ‘As bats are commonly found roosting across the Trust’s properties, it’s hugely important that any maintenance work within properties is preceded by a check for bats so as not to destroy whole roosts, especially with populations across Scotland and the UK declining considerably.’

A path leads through the leafy woodland in Threave Garden, bordered by wildflowers and birch trees.
At Threave Garden in Dumfries & Galloway, we’ve created the first National Bat Reserve in Scotland, which is home to eight different species.
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“There is much about bats that is still unknown, so the work we do here and at other properties will help us understand more about what they need to thrive.”
Threave estate manager, David Thompson

You can get involved in our bat work by joining our rangers around the country on one of our many bat walks, and use bat detectors to hear for yourselves the extraordinary world of bats.

There are also opportunities to get more involved. At Inverewe this summer our conservation volunteers conducted a bat survey, recording the common pipistrelle and soprano pipistrelle as well as the brown long-eared bat. Heat maps created by the volunteers showed how the bats move through the landscape. Another study is planned.

The National Trust for Scotland works every day to protect Scotland’s national and natural treasures. From coastlines to castles, art to architecture, wildlife to wilderness, we protect all of this for the love of Scotland.

100 ways

in which we’re loving and protecting Scotland, for you.

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