Time of Olympia Bats

Bats usually appear in July and August and are regulars around Sinclair Road.

Bats manage to live alongside humans and they may be sharing houses in the neighbourhood, especially for a few weeks during the summer when female bats need somewhere warm to raise their young. Hammersmith hosts one of the bat habitats in London, at the woodland where is planned the construction of the controversial Olympia Car Park.

This is the time of the year, between July and August, when bats are most common. At the beginning at month, on the 7th July, Sinclair Road Residents Association (SRRA) reported the sight a couple of pipistrelles hunting for insects just after sunset. Bats, according to SRRA, have been regular visitor of Sinclair Road. Their preferred spot seems to be the space at the back of numbers 86-96 Sinclair Road. After spending some time there, the bats then moved on further down the woodland.

The pipistrelle is the most common of Britain's sixteen species of bat. They only eat insects, weigh about 4 to 6 grams, have a wingspan of 19 to 25cm and eat midges, mosquitoes and other small insects that they catch and eat on the wing. They can be seen after dusk as they leave their roosts or where they feed in woodland, over water, along hedgerows and even over gardens in almost every part of London.

Bats are not evil creatures and don't want to suck blood, as pictured in the movies, although they could be infected with rabies. According to the London Wildlife Trust, there is much misunderstood about those animals. They are simply flying mammals with a taste for insects, serving as natural insecticides (a single pipistrelle can eat 3000 midges in a night).

LWT says that bats are an excellent indicator of the quality of the environment, as their complex ecological requirements leave them highly sensitive to environmental changes. Although they are protected by the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, there has been a serious decline in the number of bats over the past decade.

All species of bats are specially protected in law. This means that it is an offence to kill, injure, take or be in possession of a wild bat. It is also an offence to sell a bat, or to damage, disturb or destroy a bat roosting site. The maximum penalty is 6 months imprisonment, a fine of up to £5,000, or both.

According to the Police's Wildlife Crime Unit, the number of bats in London is declining mainly because many of their traditional roosting sites are being destroyed by land development and home improvements such as loft conversions and timber treatment.

So if you are planning to do any work on the roof or loft of your house, check first to see if bats are present. If they are, you must contact English Nature for advice. SRRA also wants to hear about unusual/rare animal species in the area, and particularly in the woodland.

SRRA Web Site

London Bats Web site

London Wildlife Web site

English Nature Web site

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