Thanks to the diversity of habitats we have in Somerset, our county has been able to offer safe havens to suit nearly every kind of bat currently found in the UK.
It also provides a rich variety of food sources to support the appetites of these fascinating, flying wonders - which account for almost a third of all UK mammal species.
A combination of their elusive and nocturnal nature, and a less than cuddly reputation has maybe made it easier for us to overlook these, in reality, shy creatures and their ecological importance. Bats are in fact great indicators of the state of the environment; they are top predators of nocturnal insect life, such as moths and they’re very sensitive to changes in land use practices.
Changes in our land use over the past few decades such as urban development and more intensive agriculture have led to habitat loss, fragmentation and the destruction of roosts – all having a hugely negative impact on our bats. So while Somerset currently provides varied and special habitats for bats, much still needs to be done to maintain and improve conditions to support existing populations, and enable them to thrive and spread.We are trying to raise £30,000 to protect bats in three areas of the county, and in particular to safeguard the habitats essential for some of our rarer species, whose very existence here is at risk. Their needs are fairly simple - they need water, insects to eat, a place to sleep, raise their babies and hibernate, as well as safe routes between these different locations. Meeting their needs however requires specific, on the ground habitat management for which we simply don’t currently have the funds.
Bats perhaps may not be an immediate choice for public support, but the role they play in understanding the ecological health of our
landscapes is an important one. Somerset’s bats really do need your help and we can make a real difference to them on the ground. We hope you are able to give to bats as you have given to many other species which have recovered and flourished in Somerset Wildlife Trust’s care, like the Bittern and Large Blue butterflies.