Phil Richardson

In this book expert Phil Richardson takes you on a guided tour of the nocturnal world of bats, exploring all aspects of their lives.

978 0 565 09167 5
April 2002
235 x 210 mm
112 pp
Colour throughout
Natural History Museum


Amazing, fascinating, bizarre are words that barely begin to describe the bats of the world. Some are big, some tiny, many eat insects and fruit, yet there are others with more unusual tastes in food - such as the fisherman bat which uses its claws to catch fish or the unjustly demonized blood-eating vampire bats. 

Bats will not fly into your hair, and they are not blind, though most find their food and avoid obstacles in the darkness of night not by vision but by using their remarkable and highly developed sense of echolocation. Their role in pollination is crucial to the environment in which they live. Bats are full of surprises.

With such a large array of species, Phil Richardson takes you on a guided tour of the world of bats: where they live, how they feed, and how they survive in almost every habitat on the planet. He uses his experiences of bat watching around the world to bring these misunderstood creatures to life, describing their complex life cycles, explaining how you can watch and study bats and help conserve these often threatened mammals. 

Wherever you live, there are likely to be bats near you, so discover more with the help of this highly readable and beautifully illustrated book.

See inside

Look inside this book to get an idea of its content. 

Bat conservation

Bat conservation

Bats anatomy explained

Bats anatomy explained

Bat behaviour

Bat behaviour

Bat conservation explored

Bat conservation is explored

Threats and dangers

The threats and dangers to bats are explored


Phil Richardson is a science teacher by day and spends evenings and holidays working with bats. He helped popularise bats in the UK by making them appealing to the public in TV and radio presentations, and in the setting up of a number of volunteer bat groups and the Bat Conservation Trust, the national body involved in bat conservation.


Find out what others think of this book.

"This beautifully illustrated softback looks at bats worldwide...It reveals a complex lifestyle and social life and senses that are practically impossible for us to imagine. It is full of facts (did you know the world's largest gathering of any mammal was in the caves of Mexico, where 50 million bats roosted in the 1960s?) and practical advice."

Birds, The magazine of the RSPB

"This colourful, informative book contains everything that you would ever want to know about bats and their habits. It covers a wide range of different species of bat and contains detailed and clear pictures, offering an insight into a world that is generally hidden from us."

Natural World Magazine

"Phil Richardson has managed to distil an enormous amount of information on the huge diversity of bat species in Bats, which is richly illustrated with stunning colour photographs. Excellent colour graphics help illustrate often complex subject areas such as echolocation, but also the more mundane like the wide range of bat roosting boxes...As an introduction to the Chiroptera, I think Bats is the best on the market; it's comprehensive, easy to read and good to look at. "

Mammal News

"Bats provides a well-documented overview of the 980 known species...sheds light on their behaviour and complex social lives, makes sense of their peculiar anatomy, and explains their sonar detection system. A comprehensive account, lightened by Richardson's enthusiasm and humour, it is complemented by fascinating close-up photography."

Geographical Magazine

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