Unit # 1
Ecology and Conservation of Bats
This course focuses on the ecology and conservation of Bats. Different species are examined, including
the physiology, species identification, diet, habitat and ecology. The course explores the life cycle
and behaviours of bat species over a year, as well as looking at the threats that face bats in the UK
and the roles that different organisations play in conserving these interesting creatures
Bat Ecology and Conservation Course
Bats are small, insect-eating, flying mammals of which eighteen species can be found in Britain. Bats have seen recent declines in their numbers due to human activity and it is often due to human activity that bats can require rescue and care.
Due to their small size and their ability to fly bats can be a challenge to care for and rehabilitate. This one-unit course will provide learners with an understanding of bats in Britain. Learners will understand the health
and safety risks of working with bats in addition to the legal protection applicable to all
Bat Ecology and Conservation
The successful care, rehabilitation and release of bats can be difficult and time consuming.
Learners will be able to explore methods of care and release for bats and gain knowledge in bat conservation. The course is suitable for those within the animal care profession seeking continual professional development.
Although there have been recent declines in bat populations throughout Britain, there are some species of bat that are still quite abundant. Many wildlife casualties occur because of their close proximity to humans and bats are no exception to this.
Often roosting in buildings, bats become exposed to hazards caused by human activity. Bats are the only mammal that can fly and as such they can be a challenge to care for and rehabilitate. In addition to their ability to fly bats are also very small animals which again poses challenges to those trying to care for them.
Those working with bats should be aware of the health and safety risks of working with bats in addition to the legal protection applicable to all British bats. The successful rehabilitation and release of bats can be difficult and time consuming. Bats are an important species of wildlife in Britain and there are many individuals, groups and organisations who work hard to protect and care for bats.
Bats are mammals, just like for example dogs and cats. Mammals are a class of vertebrate animals (animals with a backbone) so named because they possess mammary glands, which are modified sweat glands that produce milk to feed young.
Mammals are homoeothermic or warm-blooded, and most are insulated with hair or fur. Most young mammals develop inside the body of their mother and are born living. Britain is home to around 107 species of mammal and includes eighteen species of native bats which make around a quarter of British mammal species. Of the eighteen British bats species seventeen are known to breed in Britain. Bats are nocturnal animals meaning they are active at night. Bats are also long lived and depending on the species can live from ten to thirty years.
When a bat is ready for release back in the wild careful assessments must be made on the bat’s health and behaviour. It is important that assessments show a bat should be able to survive in the wild and also that the bat will not be introducing any diseases or parasites into the wild bat populations.
For a bat to be released into the wild he or she should be wary of humans and natural predators and have not become tame. The bat should be a stable body weight and not underweight.
Once rehabilitated and carefully assessed bats can be released back into the wild either directly or through a technique known as a soft release.