Hibernation checks at the bat roost

Our Exeter Ecology team are conducting a series of ecological surveys of the South Devon Link Road that runs between Newton Abbot and Torquay. Devon County Council are required to monitor the effects of this road on a variety of species including bats.

Caution! Bats crossing

A number of different types of bat surveys are being carried out over several years to establish the success of the mitigation incorporated into the scheme. Much of the mitigation was to ensure that bats can cross the road safely and avoid collision with vehicles. A number of culverts were constructed under the road where the road severed known key flight paths and the hope is that bats will fly under the road instead of over it. It is early days, but during the 2016 monitoring, there were some observations of bats using the culverts to cross the road.

Hanging around in the pink bat house

As well as bats having to find a way to safely cross the road, they have also had to move house. A number of old buildings such as barns and old houses were located under the footprint of the road and had to be demolished. Some of the buildings were used by bats to roost in and so a new bat house had to be created to provide an alternative roost site. The bat house is located in the private garden of a rather large detached property close to the road, whose owners had to move as their house was also demolished to make way for the road! The bat house is a lovely shade of pink, and matches the paint job of the main house nicely! Nicola Darwin, Senior Ecologist at our Exeter office, conducted a hibernation check of the bat house earlier this week and found this little chap at home. He is a lesser horseshoe bat hanging from the beams in the basement level of the bat house. In Britain, this is a rare species which is restricted to Wales and south west England. It is good to see the bat house is being used by hibernating bats and we hope that this little guy is joined by some friends soon!

Want to know more?

Bat surveys of the culverts and the bat house will continue for several years as well as other habitat and species surveys.

If you would like further information about this project, please contact Nicola Darwin. You can also find out more about our Ecology work on our website.

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