Greater horseshoe bats in maternity roost by John J Kaczanow
Support Devon's rare bats!
Across Britain, greater horseshoe bats have declined by as much as 90% in the last century: Devon’s rolling landscapes are their last major stronghold. However, the kind of changes to the countryside that have devastated bat populations elsewhere are now threatening the future of Devon’s greater horseshoes.
That’s why Devon Wildlife Trust has launched the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project. We aim to create a secure future for the bats – and for the roosts, wildlife-rich farmland and woodland they depend on.
We need to raise funds to protect and renovate some of Devon’s key maternity roosts, to provide new roosting habitat, and to improve access to vital food supplies. Donate securely online or phone us on 01392 279244 to give.
Greater horseshoes thrived alongside humans for centuries, using our hedgerows to find their way around the landscape and feasting on dung beetles in fields grazed by our livestock. All of their Devon maternity roosts are in man-made structures: old barns, mines, quarry caves.
These bats are extremely loyal to their maternity roosts, returning each year to the places where they were born and raised. Unfortunately, this means that damage to a roost site or the feeding grounds around it puts the entire colony’s survival at risk. Often these sites are so isolated that if one roost dies out, we lose a whole local population of bats.
Your donation will help us create more homes and feeding places for Devon’s rare bats. Donate securely online
These are Devon’s bats but their heritage value is international, so the Heritage Lottery Fund has agreed to more than match any donations made.
See live bats
See video footage of female greater horseshoe bats bonding with their new-born pups inside the roost at www.devonbatproject.org
Please help us protect and create more homes for rare bats with a donation today. Donate securely online
Homes for Bats
Devon’s old farm buildings, mines and quarries have long provided excellent opportunities for roosting bats. One site, on the southern edge of Dartmoor, supports nearly a third of the UK population.
Yet many of these historic landmarks have now been abandoned or converted in ways that are inhospitable for greater horseshoes, and some colonies have been lost entirely.
15,000 greater horseshoes were killed at a single south-west location by a toxic timber treatment. The population fell year on year as healthy bats returned to breed, only to be poisoned by their own home.
Your donation will help us to repair existing maternity roosts and build new ones, like in the barn pictured right. Donate securely online
Bats need much more than a place to breed and sleep. They need rich feeding grounds close to their roosts. For young bats, just emerging to survive on their own, this is particularly crucial as their strength and stamina are very limited.
With your support, we can attract more insects for the greater horseshoes to eat. We will:
• create flowering meadows using native seed mixes
• bring back grazing to neglected pastures to encourage dung beetles and other prey
• improve road verge management to encourage more wildflowers, moths and other insects
• create new hedges and restore existing ones: hedgerows are a rich larder for bats as well as a crucial aid to navigation
Your donation will help us to create insect-rich habitats close to greater horseshoe roosts. Donate securely online