Bats are found in many parts of the world. They live in cities, deserts, grasslands and forests. Most bats eat insects, but many feed on fruit or nectar from flowers.

All the bats found in Northern Ireland eat insects. Insectivorous bats – those that eat insects – are invaluable in helping farmers control pest species that eat our food crops. Bats in other parts of the world have also proved useful in the medical industry. Some bats carry a substance in their saliva that has been manufactured and used in medicine to help stroke victims.

Bats also are part of a select group of animals and plants called bioindicators. Bioindicators are animals and plants that can be used to identify changes in the environment as they are sensitive to change. Knowing where bats sleep, feed and travel is important to monitor subtle changes in the world around us.
A large part of the work of the Northern Ireland Bat Group relates to caring for sick and injured bats, rehabilitating them for release. Knowing where hot spots of bat activity are located will help the Northern Ireland Bat Group to identify suitable areas for release, when our wards are ready to fend for themselves in the wild. Knowing where these hot spots of activity are will help our work.

There are two ways that you can get involved with recording your sightings

Contact the Northern Ireland Bat Group if you have a Bat Roost in your house or garden. To train future bat workers, we visit known roosts to help our volunteers get the experience they need to obtain a roost visitors licence. Let us know, in addition to helping us find out where our bats are living, if you would like a visit to find out more about your bats and help train more bat workers for the future.

You can contribute to bat conservation by becoming part of the National Bat Monitoring Programme, surveys range from sunset surveys, where you enjoy your garden and collect bat data without the requirement for any special equipment to more involved surveys which use bat detectors.  Either way, the information you collect is used to track national bat populations and increase the wider understanding of bats.