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Taken from the BCT leaflet, Garden for Bats

Although we cannot guarantee to encourage bats to a garden, careful planning will increase its value to wildlife. A variety of animal visitors will be attracted, from insects to birds, and hopefully bats will be among them.

All British bats feed on insects; they need a continuous supply of food during the summer and a wide choice of places to roost, or shelter, throughout the year.

Before planning any changes, look beyond your garden at what bats already have access to nearby. Try to enhance what is available, for bats live and feed over a wide area.

Flower Borders and Lawns

Larvae and adults of many insects will be catered for by introducing a wide range of food, in the form of nectar, seeds and fruit as well as vegetation.

Trees and Shrubs

At woodland edges space and sunshine combine with the trees to give shelter and warmth, and insects will concentrate there. So even in the smallest garden try to have at least one tree or shrub. Native trees are more attractive to insects than foreign species.

If space is limited, silver birch and goat willow are quick growing and are host to many insect visitors. With a little more space, try to make a bank of vegetation to give your garden a woodland edge structure.

Shelter Belts

Rows of bushes or trees can be created or improved, encouraging concentrations of insects and providing a feeding area for bats,

Scented herbs

Chives, Borage, Lemon balm, Marjoram, Mint - many varieties Night scented flowers for the border (in approximate order of flowering)
Bedding Plants
Nottingham catchfly Silene nutans
Night-scented catchfly S. noctiflora
Bladder campionS, vulgaris
Night-scented stockMatthiola bicornis
Sweet rocketHesperis natronalis
Evening primroseOenothera biennis
Tobacco plantNicotiana affinis
Cherry pieHeliotropun x hybndurr
SoapwortSaponaria officinalis
European honeysuckleLonicera caprifoliumJuly-November
Italian honeysuckleL. etrusca superbaJuly-August
Japanese honeysuckleL. japonica hallianaAugust-October
Honeysuckle (native)L. periclymenum...July-August
White jasmineJasminium otiicinale
DogroseRosa canina
SweetbriarR. rubiginosa
FieldroseR. arvensis
IvyHedera helix
Bramble - many species
Large trees, small trees and shrubs
OakQuercus robur & Q. petrea
AshFraxinus excelsior
Silver birchBetula pendula
Field mapleAcer campestre
HawthornCrataegus monogyna
AlderAinus glutinosa
Goat willowSalix caprea
Guelder roseViburnum opulus
HazelCoryllus avellana
BlackthornPrunus spinosa
ElderSambucus nigra
Buddleia davidii
Rock plants for walls
Ivy-leaved toadflaxCymbana muralis
Wall pennywortUmbilicus rupestris
StonecropSedum acre bertianum

Added attractions.

A pond.

Many insects start life in freshwater, emerging only as adults.

As one Pipistrelle may eat up to 3000 such insects in a night, a pond is an important part of any garden designed to attract bats.

If concerned for the safety of small children, make a pond in the normal way then fill it in to form a marsh. An old leaking concrete pond can also be converted to a marsh.

Construction details are available in many wildlife gardening books.

Garden lights

Insects are attracted to bright lights. Fix a light in your garden and regularly leave it on at dusk to encourage bats to visit it when foraging. Mercury vapour lights are particularly attractive to insects.

Habitat piles

A pile of logs left undisturbed in the shrubbery or a corner of the garden to rot, will become home to a host of insects and other organisms.


Build a rockery on the principle of drystone walling. A double sided wall, filled with stones and incorporating very little soil, can become an attractive feature as mosses and lichens colonise. The spaces will be available as roost sites for bats, as well as home for some of the invertebrates on which they prey. Alternatively, an earth bank faced with drystone walling may be more suited to your garden. Leave cavities in the centre as well as plenty of small holes in the facing.

Bat boxes

As artificial tree holes, bat boxes offer an additional option for bats searching for a roost site. Entrance is usually by way of a narrow slot underneath.

Use of Chemicals

Avoid using chemicals. Certain insecticides may not only cancel out much that you are doing to encourage bats, but also harm the bats themselves.


The Bat Conservation Trust is Britain's only organisation devoted solely to the conservation of bats, their roosts and feeding habitats. Please join us and help save our bats. Clcik on the previous link for details of membership and this one for your local bat group

For more detailed information on attracting bats to your homes and gardens send for the following from the BCT:
(prices include p&p)

Bats in the Garden - S. Thompson.
Bat Boxes - Stebbings & Walsh.
Bats in Houses - A,M. Hutson.

A Bats In the Garden seed pack, containing a selection of the flowers, mentioned here, has been produced by John Chambers, specialist seedsman, Available from BCT.

Acknowledgement. This leaflet includes text and illustrations from "Bats in the Garden"
by Shirley Thompson, pub. School Garden Company, 1989, 34pp.

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