BatFest: what it is, when it’s on, and how to take part

Learn more about this inaugural event, being launched by Chris Packham and running for the whole of September.

Common pipistrelle bat. © Hugh Clark/www.bats.org.uk

What is BatFest?

BatFest is a new month-long celebration of bats run by the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT), launching on International Bat Night and running through September.

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What events are taking place for BatFest?

BatFest is being launched with a free live online event on Saturday 29 August hosted by conservationist, TV presenter and president of BCT, Chris Packham, and BCT’s helpline manager Hannah van Hesteren.

“As president of the Bat Conservation Trust I am excited to be involved with BatFest,” says Packham, “a wonderful new festival in our wildlife calendar, a whole month of natural history wonder, brimming with opportunities to discover more about these extraordinary animals. I have always been a huge admirer of bats – here is a chance to find out why! No doubt BatFest will deservedly expand the bat fan club!”

There are a range of other events afterwards, including:

  • Bats and the Arts: an afternoon using the arts a lens to explore the world of bats includes a talk by Paul Colley – British Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018 winner.
  • National Bat Conference: two days of talks, workshops, panel discussions and networking online.
  • Global Bat Conservation Showcase – Wednesday 23 September: an online showcase of bats and conservation projects from across the world.

Many of the events are free. A full list of events can be found on the BatFest website.

Serotine bat. © Hugh Clark/www.bats.org.uk
Serotine bat. © Hugh Clark/www.bats.org.uk

How many bats are there in the world and in the UK?

There are more than 1,400 species of bat in the world, 18 of which are found in the UK (17 are known to be breeding):

    1. Alcathoe bat (Myotis alcathoe)
    2. Barbastelle bat (Barbastella barbastellus)
    3. Bechstein’s bat (Myotis bechsteinii)
    4. Brandt’s bat (Myotis brandtii)
    5. Brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus)
    6. Common pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus)
    7. Daubenton’s bat (Myotis daubentonii)
    8. Greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum)
    9. Grey long-eared bat (Plecotus austriacus)
    10. Leisler’s bat (Nyctalus leisleri)
    11. Lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros)
    12. Nathusius’ pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus nathusii)
    13. Natterer’s bat (Myotis nattereri)
    14. Noctule bat (Nyctalus noctula)
    15. Serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus)
    16. Soprano pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus pygmaeus)
    17. Whiskered bat (Myotis mystacinus)
    18. Greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis)

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Main image: Common pipistrelle bat. © Hugh Clark/www.bats.org.uk