Thinking Outside the Box

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After our recent visits to flight cages, we are starting to work on the furnishings for the interior of our planned flight, including purpose-built soft-release bat boxes.  We needed boxes that had a flat bottom, so that food can be left inside for the bats, and they also had to be front-opening, so that it is easy to access for cleaning, putting in food and checking on bats.  We knew we’d probably have to build them ourselves, and when we were offered some pre-cut BIRD box kits, we decided that we could adapt them into exactly what we needed.

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A few adaptations that we included were a) the creation of a bat ‘ladder’ so that the bats can land easily and climb up into the box, b) instead of a hole for birds, we left the front solid, and instead cut a slot into the base as an access point for bats, c) instead of a top-opening hinged roof, we adapted the design so that the front opened instead (recycling some old hinges), which is much better for feeding and d) we included a flap of roofing felt INSIDE the boxes as well as on top, so that the bats have something to hide behind.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you’re handy with a hammer, and like the idea of giving bat box building a go, there are lots of different types of boxes you can build. You won’t be limited to flat-bottomed, front-opening designs, so here are a few of our favourites we’ve picked out for you:

The Kent Bat Box – a very popular design that pipistrelles love!

Several Designs from Bat Conservation Ireland – We really like the ‘Tanglewood Wedge’

The American Rocket Box – A quirky design, and slightly more complicated to build.

And some further reading…

Building Bat Houses

The Bat Box Builder’s Handbook

Bat Boxes:  A Guide to the History, Function, Construction and Use in the Conservation of Bats

Bird, Bee & Bug Houses

– Morgan 🙂

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