Guess how many insects a bat eats in a single evening
WELL, another busy week over in Stoke Park where we have recently launched an amazingly varied programme of events. One that has certainly proved popular is the evening bat walk.
A large group of people gathered and I could hear the excitement building up. It was also so delightful to see that the group included lots of younger children, too.
I then delivered my speech about bats and how they use echo location for navigation and so forth.
We have 18 species of micro bats in this country and many of the people attending were surprised to learn that bats are the only species of mammal that can fly using powered flight.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
"What about the flying squirrel?" someone asked.
I explained that they have a membrane between their legs but only glide between trees and cannot use powered flight as such.
There's a question I like to ask the youngsters on these occasions and that is for them to guess how many insects in one single evening did they think a tiny bat eats.
One child said 10. another shouted 100. "Keep going," I said.
So another said 2,000, which brought a laugh from the audience.
Actually he was not far off. A single bat can eat up to 3,000 insects in one night's feeding. They are warm blooded mammals and they need to eat lots to keep warm and, besides, flying takes up lots of energy.
Some of the insects they catch can be as small as a gnat.
We then we set off, all armed with bat detectors As we got to a large hedgerow the bat detectors came alive with the 'click click click' sound of a Noctule Bat, pictured, flying high and fast over a hedgerow chasing moths. Then as we made our way to Duchess Lake we all lined up along the lake's edge.
As I was telling everyone about another species of bat that feeds over water – the Daubentons Bat, or Water Bat – the detectors came to life once more. There were so many insects being blown onto the lake from nearby fields the bats were gorging on them as fast as they could fly.
"Listen for the raspberry noise," I said. That's when a bat locks onto its prey and the echo location sound changes from that gentle searching 'click click click' to a rapid and solid tone that sounds like the phantom raspberry blower.
It gets the crowd in stitches every time.
We had an amazing evening and as we made our way back there was the added bonus of seeing lots of foxes.
â For details of this year's events at Stoke Park please log on to Stoke Park Estate facebook page or email me direct on email@example.com