Signs of Bats in Your Property

Normally, bats can coexists within our property without causing any problems to the homeowner, and in most cases you would not know about their presence until you have a survey or an extension done. But if you are concerned about bats in your home, these are the signs you can look out for to identify whether bats are living in your property.

Currently, in United Kingdom can be found 17 different species of bat, with most of them being characterized by small dimensions and weight less than 50g. Due to reduction of their natural habitats, bats have adapted to using any surrounding building, and in most cases will be a man-made one, for breeding and roosting. 

They gain access to any enclosed space through gaps as small as 20mm and take shelter in lofts, cellars, roofing felts, drain pipes or guttering, between roof tiles, above soffits, under gables or eaves, basically everywhere is warmth and offer protection from elements.

Bats are harmless and pose no damage to your property. They eat only insects and would not damage any cables, wood or insulation. (in comparison with mouse or rats). The risk of infestation is lower also because in most cases they will have only one baby per year and they don’t build nests.

Bats are relatively clean animals and pose no health risk to humans, unless they scratch or bite you while they are infected with rabies. However, the risk of this to happen is really low because we should not handle them and if we do, we need to wear protection.

In the UK, bats are quite common, but knowing to have one on your property requires close observation and assessment of any of these signs. We need to keep in mind that bats hibernate in winter and awaken in summer, are most active at night, and will often return seasonally to the same roost.

  • Bat droppings  – The first sign of a bat would be to look for their droppings. Bat droppings are similar to mice droppings in size and colour and usually can be found on windows, walls, sills, around gable ends, around chimneys, or under the roof ridge.
  • Bat “chattering” – Second sign of a bat in your property loft is the noise they make. Being more active at night, are chances to hear them chattering during the night silence. The specific noise they make is like a high-pitched squeaking accompanied by a scratching sound.

           In most cases, you will be able to hear them at dusk, before they fly out to feed and during the mating season, June to August.

  • Bats entering/exiting your house or loft – Finally, another evident sign to suggest bats is to actually see their emergence. The chances are that you will see them going out of your building at dusk, in the summer months, while they leave their roost to feed. 

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If it’s obvious that you have bats in your loft before the work on your loft conversion begins, it’s best to get a bat survey done before applying for planning permission. A bat survey needs to be carried out by a fully trained and licensed person. 

In fact, if you try to investigate yourself, you could be committing an offence by disturbing the bats. The ecologist that carries out the bat survey can advise whether is possible to continue the build or not with the bats in situ.

Usually, a mitigation license can be issued alongside your planning permission to have the bats removed.

If you spot any bats in your property or you think you identified any of the above signs, you need to contact Natural England for advice. Keep in mind that bats are protected in UK by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which makes a criminal offence to deliberately harm, capture, disturb or kill a bat or to damage or destroy their roost.

As mentioned before, in most cases, a homeowner and bats can coexist without issues, but if you are concerned about bats in your property or want to carry out building works, please have a survey to identify any signs and inspect your property for bats. Also, advice will be offered by your surveyor on how to handle this matter and what would be your next step.

Written by Danil P.
11th Feb 2021 (Last updated on 5th Apr 2022)
3 minute read
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