Bats are mammals – warm-blooded creatures which live in colonies and frequent a number of places in and around Newbridge. There are nine species confirmed in Ireland, and all consume insects and are grouped into two groups or “families” – Vespertilionidae & Rhinolophidae.
The nine species found in Ireland are:
Common Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus)
Soprano Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus)
Nathusius’ Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus nathusii)
Leisler’s Bat (Nyctalus leisleri)
Brown Long-eared Bat (Plecotus auritus)
Daubenton’s Bat (Myotis daubentonii)
Whiskered Bat (Myotis mystacinus)
Natterer’s Bat (Myotis nattereri)
Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros)
Bats feed in insects, so they generally appear in the late spring and early summer – most active during the longer (hopefully warmer) evenings of June & July. As winter approaches bats go into hibernation. Generally speaking bats have a lifespan of approximately 7 to 8 years. In Ireland Bats often roost in buildings during the summer – including churches, derelict buildings, farm out-buildings or in domestic attic spaces of occupied dwellings. They also roost in trees and the crevices of older stone bridges.
Bats have amazing flying abilities and its activity is generally confined to the hours of darkness, and generally only have one offspring per annum. They are quite small weigh very little. In a similar way to birds, many bats migrate long distances between summer and winter grounds, and this has occasionally resulted in bats from parts of the UK appearing in Ireland – these bats are a protected species as are our “native” bats – although they do not settle here.
The National Parks & Wildlife Service is running a nation-wide Bat Monitoring Programme National Bat Monitoring Programme in co-operation with Bat Conservation Ireland.
Myths about bats:
- The oft used phrase “As blind as a bat” – is a misnomer – bats can see;
- Bats do NOT get caught in your hair – insect-eating bats are equipped with a built in sonar system allowing them to travel in complete darkness at some considerable speeds without bumping into anything;
- Vampire bats don not exist in Ireland – so they will not suck your blood – Irish bats survive on insects – including the annoying midges, spiders or greenfly;
- Bats are not flying mice….. they are however shy and harmless;
- Bats are a threatened or endangered species (hence they are protected by law);
To “see” a bat you will need a bat detector, bats use high frequency calls – echolocation – to enable them to travel in darkness and detect their prey (insects), and these calls are generally inaudible to our ears. A bat-detector device converts these calls to audible sounds – which differ from species to species.
Bats are protected by law under the Wildlife Act 1976 and subsequent legislation including the EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) , the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 and it is an offence to intentionally disturb, injure or kill bats or indeed to in any way disturb or destroy their roosts, including the entrances or exits to or from the roost without a licence. The National Parks and Wildlife Service Website will provide advice where any development is required on a site where bats are roosting, or where householders have a genuine concern regarding bats in a domestic setting.
If you are interested in finding out more about bats in this locality there is a local Bat Conservation group – the Kildare Bat Group – email them at Kildare Bat Group or better still check out their website at Kildare Bat Group Website