The Habitat First Group (HFG) have a mission to share their deep love for Mother Nature and there is no denying the depth of this mission when you find out that the first home that has been completed at their new Silverlake site is not for humans but for bats!
Silverlake’s bespoke bat house has been designed alongside Dorset-based ecological consultancy, KP Ecology, and in the true spirit of sustainable development an old sand-hopper used by the quarry in years gone has been ‘upcycled’ and converted into a splendid bat loft by the Habitat First Group.
The new bat loft has been designed specifically for Brown long-eared bats. With ears almost as long as their bodies, it’s easy to see how these amazing creatures got their name! Weighing only between 6-12g, these bats feed at night on moths, beetles and spiders and like other UK bat populations they have declined in number over the last century.
Habitat First Group’s ecologist, Dr Phoebe Carter says:
“This bat house is the first step we are taking towards bat conservation at Silverlake. Natural roosting sites for Brown long-eared bats are becoming scarcer due to habitat loss and their populations are also being affected by an increase in pesticide use which is impacting on their insect-prey. We are hoping the bat house will provide the perfect conditions for roosting bats and that Brown long-eared bats, and other bat species, such as Pipistrelle bats will benefit from its presence as they come out of hibernation in spring.”
The bat house will be regularly monitored by ecologists for signs of use by bats. While Silverlake waits to see if it has created the ultimate ‘des res’ for bats, it will carry on with its other conservation projects including heathland restoration and creation, enhancing habitat for resident dormice and making homes for sand martins, to name but a few. Things are looking good for wildlife at Silverlake.
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