Go barmy about bats this weekend

24 July 2009

This weekend is Bat Weekend at the Natural History Museum.

In celebration of these mammals of the night, a weekend of special family events is taking place on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 July.

There will be talks by experts, bat box building, face painting, craft activities and more.

In partnership with the OPAL project, Bat Conservation Trust and the London Bat Group, the weekend will dispel myths about bats and explain what we can do to help protect them.

Bats in the UK

Bats are a vital part of British biodiversity. In the UK, there are 17 bat species, making up about a quarter of UK mammal species. There are few other nocturnal insect-eaters and a single bat may eat hundreds of insects a night.

Their numbers have been declining however, as Caroline Ware, Museum Wildlife Garden Manager, explains. ‘Over the past century human activities have by far the greatest influence on bat populations.

‘Loss of habitat, the use of pesticides and intensive farming practices have lead to a reduction in the abundance of insects which the bats rely on as their only food source. Natural habitats such as hedgerows, woodlands and ponds have been declining and fragmenting.

‘There is much we can do to redress this,’ Ware adds. ‘Gardens, for example, can provide important feeding stations for bats and we can help bats as well as birds and other wildlife by growing a wide variety of plants to attract a diversity of insects.’

The Bat Weekend activities are free and take place in the Museum’s Wildlife Garden from 12.30-16.30 on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 July.

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