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www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
JANUARY
85
Considering bats on your farm
Bat Conservation Ireland has drawn up some guidelines
for encouraging bats to roost in the farm environment
using bat boxes.
Hedgerows and trees most bat species prefer to
fly along hedgerows and tree lines. Hedgerows that
are allowed to grow over 2m in height are more
useful for bats. Gaps of greater than 10m can be
problematic for some species to cross.
Wetlands, ponds and streams these habitats are
important for insects. Infilling, draining or pollution
of these habitats lessen their usefulness for bats.
Old farm buildings bats often roost in old stone
buildings, sometimes in crevices and cracks in the
stone work.
Dead standing timber can be used by bats for
roosting so should be retained where it does not
pose a risk to traffic or safety.

Source: Bat Conservation Ireland.
As a child, Batman was a household name. Saturday
morning's ritual featured gluing ourselves to the TV,
watching Adam West, as the caped crusader, `kaboom'
and `kerpow' Gotham City to safety. But West's on-screen
prowess and goodness certainly did nothing for the
reputation of the common bat that swooped and swirled
around our moonlit skies in south Tipperary!
My mother feared them mostly that they would stick in
her hair, and a shaving would ensue. Twilight strolls were
comical, at times, as she ducked and stooped out of the way
of these fearsome hair-hunting creatures.
My mother was not alone, however; bats are probably some
of the most misunderstood mammals in the world. The
myths associated with these furry little fliers are plentiful,
but beneficial bats tales? Not so much! Count Dracula has a
lot to answer for! China, however, considers bats symbols of
good luck and happiness. A leaf should be taken from their
bat book!
According to Bat Conservation International, there are more
than 1,300 species of bats in the world which, by the way,
would be a much different place without them. They are
prominent players in our ecosystem as pollinators, seed
dispersers and pest controllers.
"Bats consume vast amounts of insects, including
some of the most damaging agricultural pests," says Bat
Conservation Ireland (BCI).
"Others pollinate many valuable plants, ensuring the
production of fruits that support local economies, as well
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
RURAL LIFE
JANUARY
84
BATS:
THE FARMER'S FRIEND
Following on from last month's
bee conservation focus,
Bernie Commins highlights
the importance of bats in our
ecosystem and why they are our
farmers' friends
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