Did you know that bats are more closely related to humans than they are to mice?
Bats play an important role in many environments around the world. There are over 1,100 types of bats in the world and they can be as small as a bee or as big as a dog!
The largest bats are the flying foxes and the smallest is the bumblebee bat - the world's smallest mammal.
Some plants depend partly/wholly on bats to spread their seeds while other bats eat insects and thereby control pests. Bats are often used as a marker species in the UK, as changes to their populations can show subtlechanges in the local ecosystem.
While some people think bats are pests, they are actually pest controllers eating 1000s of insects every night. Contrary to popular belief, UK bats do not bite you or suck your blood, in fact, they actually eat mosquitoes that will bite you and suck your blood!
Another way bats help humans is that they help to protect crops by eating all the bugs as UK bats are all insectivores. Whilst the bats help our farmers' crops, agricultural practices can have a harmful impact on bats. Bats are at risk of going hungry due to increased use of pesticides which kill the bugs they eat. In addition, woods and hedgerows in farmlands are being destroyed which are their roosting and hunting grounds and vital for travelling about.
Over the last century UK bat numbers have declined considerably. Building and development work causes loss of habitat, roads interfer with how bats travel around. There are also threats in our homes from fly paper, chemicals that are used in the building materials of our houses, cats, other potential threats include mobile phone masts and wind turbines.
If you would like to know more, or even would like to adopt a bat, please go to the bat conservation trust, or visit the International Bat Night website.