A History of Bats In The UK

Today – A History of Bats In The UK

Here at family budgeting we love the natural world and are just batty about bats and they need our help. Some amazing facts in this fab guest post.

There are over 5000 different species of mammal all over the globe, and unbelievably nearly 1,100 of these mammals are bats. Varying in size and shape, from the minuscule moth-sized to huge meter wingspan flyers, bats can be found in nearly every country in the world. Mainly feeding on fruit and insects – and sometimes even blood – bats are fascinating creatures who live complex social lifestyles.

 A History of Bats In The UK

Photo Credit: G Kovacs


A History of Bats In The UK

Whether it’s a combination of too many scary movies or a fear of the dark, most people react to bats with horror and screams, however the actual truth behind these furry gliders is very different. Research has taught us that the senses that bats have developed over thousands of years of evolution are beyond comprehension, and they’re the only mammal that is able to fly. Their appetites are enormous too; a single brown bat has the capability to catch over 1,000 insects in an hour! Let’s take a look at some more amazing facts about bats that most people are unaware of.

The Evolution of Bats

For over 200 million years mammals have roamed the earth, however after studying the earliest bat fossil fragments, scientists believe that these flying creatures are only around 50 million years old. These fossil fragments are much like the bats we find in the UK today, which shows that they reached their peak of evolution and diversity around 60 million years ago.

The mammals that flourished after the dinosaurs were extinct were very different to anything the earth had seen before. Not only did they have hair instead of scales on their bodies, but they also gave birth to live offspring instead of laying eggs. These mammals also produced milk for their young ones. A history of bats in the UK is fascinating for sure

Bat fossils are rare because their bones are so small and fragile, meaning there have been no discovery of ‘missing links’, or other evidence to identify a clear evolutionary route. Experts believe that most bat species came from mammals similar to shrews, except the fruit bat species, which is evolved from a different origin. Furthermore, experts believe that a professional bat survey is essential in order to keep a clear record of how these winged mammals continue to change and diversify.

 A History of Bats In The UK looking at Diversity in the UK

Because bats can fly, they’re one of the most diverse mammals in the world, and from mountain ranges to the jungle, evidence of bats has been found all over the globe. Sadly, the vast majority of bats in the UK are under threat of extinction, and only 15 species out of the 900 worldwide can be found in the UK. The last bat to become extinct in England was the Mouse-eared bat in 1991.

Britain is home to a number of insect-eating bat species, and they have proven themselves very important when it comes to the preservation of crops in the UK’s countryside. Consuming as much as 3000 insects every day, bats have been helping to reduce the amount of crops eaten by insects, as well as moths, mosquitoes, and other insects that we don’t like to see flying about!

But whether it’s human ignorance, or loss of habitat, the threat to bats in the UK is very real. Campaigners have voiced their dismay at toxic pesticides in the UK’s countryside, which could be a leading cause to the bats’ declining numbers. 

I do hope you have enjoyed reading A History of Bats In The UK

A History of Bats In The UK is a guest post


1 Comment

  1. June 5, 2013 / 23:02

    Tall Dads absolute favourite animal! I shall let him read this later 🙂

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