Bats are highly specialised and remarkable animals with some amazing features. They are the only true flying mammals. Like us, bats are warm-blooded, give birth, and suckle their young. They are also long-lived, intelligent, and have complex social lives. Although they're often called flying mice, bats are not rodents but form a special group of their own - the Chiroptera.
Conservation and protection
The Wildlife (Jersey) Law 2021 provides local protection for Jersey’s bats which are also afforded international protection from the Berne and Bonn agreements.
Because all bat species are considered vulnerable, the wildlife law asks that anyone doing anything in relation to a bat notifies the Department of the Environment of any proposed actions or operations that may affect bats.
Bats are particularly vulnerable to disturbance through property development and maintenance. Modern construction materials and methods can be inhospitable to bats and they are very dependant on their historic roosts. With simple forward planning and consideration these practical problems can be alleviated.
In order to work within the wildlife law:
- you must make sure that there are no bats present before beginning any work. If there are bats present or you even just suspect there might be, contact the Environment Department for advice. Work will not necessarily be prevented
- if operations have already started when bats or their roosts are discovered, stop work immediately and contact the Environment Department
- take extra care when clearing trees, hedges or undergrowth as bats may be roosting in them. Bats are very small and quiet, and you may not realise they are there
Bats and the law leaflet
Checking for a bat roost
Bats do not make nests, and don't cause structural damage. The most obvious sign of their presence is droppings. Bat droppings consist largely of insect remains and crumble easily between your fingers to a harmless powder of semi-shiny fragments.
Droppings may not always be readily visible in a roof. Large accumulations may reflect use over a number of years rather than large numbers of bats at any one time.
Bat droppings are not generally smelly and do not present any known health hazards.
Best practice for working in bat roosts
The control of wasps, bees or hornets, cluster flies and rodents may unintentionally affect bats or their roosts. In order to minimise the effect of any work on bats:
- rodenticides should not be placed in an open tray below roosting bats
- insecticides based on permethrin and cypermethrin are recommended as safer for use near mammals
- use fungicides for treating wet and dry rot which are approved for use in bat roosts