How do I attract bats

Watching tips for bat fans

A walk through everyday bat life

You can also watch bats on your own. Because even if they are nocturnal, bats are excellent for observing their everyday activities. And they do not allow themselves to be disturbed by the presence of curious observers.

Broad-winged bat - Photo: Gerhard Mäscher

Usually they are only perceived as silent shadows when they scurry past us on their wild chase for insects. We are talking about bats, one of the most mysterious and fascinating indigenous animal groups.

Little is known about the everyday life of bats by the general public. But the interest is huge. Satisfying this need for knowledge is the goal of the bat conservationists at NABU. A large number of groups have formed nationwide in recent years that lobby for the concerns of bats in a variety of ways. The annual highlight is the Batnight at the end of August, with several hundred events taking place simultaneously across Germany.

But you can also watch bats on your own. Because even if they are nocturnal, bats are excellent for observing their everyday activities. And in contrast to other mammals, they do not allow themselves to be disturbed by the presence of curious observers. But because they doze off hidden in some hiding places during the day, and only become active in the evening after dark, a real bat fan has to adjust his activity rhythm to his target group.


Get up time

Pug Bat - Photo: Thomas Filip

The noctule bat is the early bird among bats. They appear shortly after sunset. That is why they used to be referred to as the "early-flying bat". The piped bats follow a little later. The other species usually only follow when it is already dark. And that means that they can usually no longer be observed without technical aids.


Auxiliary headlights

One way to make the daring flight maneuvers of the bats visible is to use strong, commercially available hand-held flares. The best thing to do is to dampen the light a little with red light foil.

Tracking piped bats with the spotlight is difficult. This is much easier with water bats. They usually hunt just above the surface of the water and can thus be followed very well with the headlight. If you don't have a headlight to hand, bats can also be observed in the glow of street lamps. As typical predators, they fly to wherever there is something to eat, even if it is street lamps.


Bat detector tool

The bats' locating sounds are inaudible to human ears. In contrast to the location sounds, at least some of the social sounds are audible. The deficiency of human hearing can now be compensated for with so-called bat detectors. Suddenly the beings, who had been scurrying silently until then, become screamers. You can even hear when a bat has put an insect on its "target radar". While they normally emit around 10 locating sounds per second, the pulse rate increases to a few hundred shortly before the catching act.


Swarm activity

If you observe the animals in the hunting area, you mostly "only" encounter individual animals. Quite different, however, in the early morning in front of a quarter. Most bats return to their roost shortly before dawn. Before they fly in, they "swarm" around the entrance to the quarter. And then you can see dozens of bats at the same time. As if on an external sign, the animals disappear into their shelter shortly before it gets light.


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“Many native bat species are acutely threatened. That's why the little night owls absolutely need our protection! "

Sebastian Kolberg
(NABU speaker for bat protection)

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