I thought it was time to give you an update on how the flight cage / bat release centre plans are coming along. We currently have 1 adult bat (Bella), 4 hand-reared bats (Belfry, Dusty, Winnie and Kimi), one pup (P-Diddy) that was born in captivity and two of this year’s bats (Christian & Dwayne) waiting to be released in the cage! The plan is that Bella, Christian & Dwayne will teach the other bats how to hunt on the wing! We’ve been hard at work building the foundations for the cage (after a lot of research and site visits!) and this weekend we constructed the walls & shed.
The shed will serve two purposes – it will keep equipment dry, and it serves as a double-door entrance to the cage (so that bats don’t fly out when you open the door to go in!) We’re hoping to collect water off the roof of the shed and adjacent building to use to water the plants in and around the cage, and to keep the water topped up in the troughs (we’re hoping to encourage mosquitoes to breed as food for the bats).
The cage has chicken wire / mesh on the outside, but it will be lined on the inside with windbreak material – and there will be a 2-inch gap between the two layers – this is so that bats can land on the inside walls without being predated on by owls! The gap keeps them 2-inches away from talons!
We’re covering the floor with gravel over a weed membrane so that we can hose it down to clean it without water pooling on the floor. We’ll be hanging bat boxes (the ones I blogged about previously) on the inside of the cage, and the bats will live there until they are ready to be released.
We’re very excited, but there is a long way to go. If you’d like to get involved, get in touch with us, and if you would like to help by donating supplies or equipment, you can either take a look at our Amazon Wish List or choose plants to donate – any night-blooming plants are suitable, but especially the ones in the list below. And remember, you can plant these in your garden, too!
Night Blooming Jasmine (Jasminum officinale)
Honeysuckle (Lonicera sp.)
Evening Primrose (Oenothera sp.)
Nicotine Plants: Nicotiana alata or Nicotiana sylvestris
Buddleia Buddleja davidii ‘White Profusion’
Caryopteris x clandonensis
Eryngium giganteum ‘Silver Ghost’
Hebe ‘Great Orme’
Night Scented Stock