National Biodiversity Week: Bat Walks Across Ireland

Published by Leigh McGowran on

May 16th, 2018

During the event packed National Biodiversity Week (19 – 27 May), there are many opportunities to take part in bat walks and learn more about the only mammal capable of true powered flight.

There are nine different species of bats across Ireland, and are all insectivorous (they only eat insects).

Leisler’s bat is the largest species of bat in Ireland and can be found across the country. They have different shades of brown in their fur, and are also known as ‘the hairy-armed bat’ due to the fur on their wings and forearms.

The lesser horseshoe bat is the only horseshoe bat in Ireland, with all other resident species belonging to the vesper family. They are unable to crawl, unlike other Irish bats, and must hang upside down in their roosts. They are only found in six western counties in Ireland.

All Irish bats are protected under the Wildlife Act 1976 and it is an offence to intentionally disturb, injure or kill a bat or disturb its resting place.

Several breeding sites exist around Ireland to help bats roost throughout the year.

Bats Exiting Cave photo credit: USFWS/Ann Froschauer. FlickrA variety of bat walks are being organised by Bat Conservation Ireland and Irish Wildlife Trust around Ireland during National Biodiversity Week.

Bat Walk, Belcarra, Co. Mayo (19 May)

Bat Conservation Ireland will be taking participants on a dusk walk to learn about the variety of bat species in their local habitat, as well as the chance to see other wildlife.

As the walk is taking place after dark, torches are recommended if you have one.

Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, and parts of the walk may not be accessible to wheelchair users or buggies.

Click here for more details.

Bat Walk, Newtown Woods, Tramore, Co. Waterford (23 May)

Take a dusk walk through woodland tracks, to learn about the variety of bat and forest wildlife that lives in the Newtown Woods.

Rain gear and comfortable footwear are recommended.

Click here for more details.

Small Brown Bat Photo Credit: USFWS/Ann Froschauer. FlickrBats in the Botanic Gardens: Explore the Botanic Gardens after Dark! (24 May)

Join the Irish Wildlife Trust as they take visitors to the Botanic Gardens after dark to see the nocturnal biodiversity. Participants will be given bat detectors to hear the calls of the bats as they forage in the dark.

There’s also the chance to see other nocturnal animals, such as badgers, foxes and owls.

Booking is required for this free event, click here to find out more.

Woodland Bats of Kerry – Biodiversity Walk & Talk (24 May)

This event begins with a talk in the Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre, to learn about the quirks of Irish bats and how they live.

Irish Wildlife Trust will then take people to the Ballyseedy Woods. Participants will get to try out bat detectors to experience the sound of bat calls.

Click here to find out more.

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Leigh McGowran

Leigh is a final year Journalism student at DCU with interests in the environment, radio presenting and film reviews.