Bats and water ecology – how they are symbiotic.
Bats are a protected species in the UK under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981. Bats are also protected by the Conservation Regulations of 1994 and afford a lot of research because they are important for an ecological balance (as well as being so cute it almost hurts). Water is essential to a bat’s foregoing habits and I am of the opinion that water in the UK should also therefore be a ‘protected species’.
I made the case in my 4-part series Planet Earth is a sentient being that the planet and its biosphere is sentient and should be a fully paid up member of the UN as a State in its own right.
In this post I want to show how the lovely bat and the waterways of Great Britain are vital to the survival of the bat and as citizens, how protecting our water courses can improve our wellbeing.
The Daubenton’s bat is a beautiful example of one of our bat species in the UK. The first amazing thing about these exquisite creatures is they live up to 22 years. They are insectivorous and roost near to water in woodlands. The map below shows where they are found and sadly in Germany and Austria they are an endangered species.
These mouse-eared type bats are extremely cute with five toes on their feet and a lovely face. I hope I have convinced you that this little bat is cute and given you a concern for them. Let’s look at its feeding habits and why British watercourses are important.
Water pollution is mainly under control in the UK but the loss of aquatic insects can have devastating consequences to bat populations. Destroying waterside woodlands, farm run-off and manufacturing outlet pipes into the waterways of the UK can create terrible problems for the breeding habits of the small flies (especially chironomid midges), caddis flies and mayflies the Daubenton’s bat has in its diet. If the flies can’t breed, the bats can’t eat. This symbiotic relationship the bat and the river has is something special and vital for the circle of life.
The Daubenton’s bat needs us to lobby our MPs asking them to put watercourse management and protection from pollution and habitat destruction at the top of the agenda. Wherever you live in the world where bats feed on rivers, go one evening and just watch them skimming over the water collecting flies with a precision only nature can pull-off. Then write to your politicians and describe how beautiful our nature is and how important it is to your wellbeing. Tell them that nature definitely has an intrinsic value and your willingness to pay (WTP) is priceless!
Every single part of nature (the biosphere) needs our respect and protection, but water ecology is one that is special to me because it is so vulnerable and open to being abused/polluted. Nature belongs to you, it’s your responsibility to make sure it is treated with love so that not just the Daubenton’s bat can survive but it’s there for all our children and future generations to enjoy.