Bat Houses
Bat Houses

Bat Houses


Please Note: The bat house shown in this video is a display model; a real bat house should never be this small! Please see our Certification Program Guidelines for suggested minimum measurements.

 

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How to Attract Bats to Your Backyard

There are many reasons for wanting bats in your backyard. Whether it’s to benefit from their pollination services, pest control, or you just simply enjoy their nightly displays of aerial acrobatics, consider these three tips for attracting bats to your backyard.

Leave Dead Trees

For many species of bats, dead trees provide the crème de la crème of roosting locations. The narrow, rough space between the bark and the wood provides the ideal space for a bat (or few) to squeeze in nice and tight. If a dead tree does not pose a safety concern, consider leaving it in your yard to provide protected refuge for bats and the insects for they eat.

Dead tree not an option? Give the bats the next best thing – a bat house to mimic the space and habitat that a dead tree would normally provide.

Build or Buy a Bat House

Bat flying in the sky
Courtesy of Selena Kiser

Building your own bat house is a great way to get involved in bat conservation. Bat Conservation International (BCI) has designs for three different types of roosts freely available on our website: single chamber, four-chamber, and rocket boxes.

Make sure to check out our website for additional tips and tricks for building your own bat house.

Opting to buy a house instead? Check out this list of certified vendors who can get you set up with the house for your new batty neighbors.

Once you have your bat house, check out BCI’s installation tips.

BCI has learned many lessons during out 10-year Bat House Research Project. But remember, though we have developed best practices based on years of experimentation, please don’t feel you can’t have a bat house if your conditions are not exactly like the ones we suggest.

Here are some tips to get you started....

1. Where should I place my bat house?

Bats prefer roosts mounted on buildings or other large wooden or concrete structures to those mounted on poles or on trees (not recommended). But pole mounts work well in climates that are moderate to hot, without extreme variance between day and night temperatures.

Bat houses should receive at least six hours of daily sun exposure.

2. How many should I install?

If more than one roost is desired, begin by testing a few in different places. You can mount them next to each other on a building, painted or stained different colors, or on poles back-to-back, a light one facing north and a darker one south. Bats are more likely to move into roosts grouped three or more together.

3. How high should the house be?

Best siting is 20’-30’ from the nearest trees and at least 10’ (from the bottom of the roost)—12’-20’ is better—above ground (or above the tallest vegetation beneath the bat house). Locations nearest an area’s largest water sources are the most successful—preferably ¼ mile or less.

Keep Fluffy Indoors

We all love our furry feline friends, but cat attacks are one of the most common causes of bat casualties. Keep your cat indoors at night, especially during the summer months when the mothers are taking care of their young. If you are unable to keep your cat inside all night, bring it in about a half hour before sunset until an hour after sunset – this is when bats are most active. If your cat has found a bat, s/he may have learned where the roost is and will return – which places the entire colony at risk.

Further Reading

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