Roosting bats in Goatchurch

I managed to get to the Mendips last week and took the family down Goatchurch where I was surprised to find roosting bats. Back in the day (some 30 years ago) when I used to cave on Mendip, there were too many novice trips in the cave for the bats to roost. Does anybody know what's happened? Has there been a big reduction in trips down goatchurch? Have the bats become used to cavers in goatchurch? Have the bats lost other roosting sites?
 

mikem

Well-known member
There have been just as many trips going on, but numbers of bats seem to be increasing (they've been there since before the pandemic, but generally move out over summer)
 

cap n chris

Well-known member
Many of the bats seem impervious to the presence of human visitors and there's a reasonable likelihood they're used to it. However, the corollary is that there's no reason to presume bats in less visited caves are ok being in close proximity to cavers.
 

dugadig

Member
As long as nobody comes along and pulls them off their position, stretches out their fragile wings and measures the span, sticks them in a bag and weighs them or shoves a thermometer up their arses; They will be fine!
Just leave them alone, no matter which species! 👍
 

PeteHall

Moderator
A month or so back, we counted over 20 in the main entrance passage alone (some within 6 feet of the entrance). Today, only spotted two. Assume they are roosting in the trees now the weather is warmer, but I'm not ecologist...
 

alastairgott

Well-known member
We spotted 3 and a half in read's cavern on Friday. The half one was flying around, so we couldn't be sure if it may have been one that we had seen before, and weren't about to run around the three again to check they had not moved.
 

ChrisJC

Active member
I wonder how many bats are required before they are no longer considered 'endangered', or 'rare', or whatever epithet in conjunction with them?

Chris.
 

cap n chris

Well-known member
This time of year they're getting frisky and flying around, showing off like teenagers, getting all firlty, and shizz.
 

cap n chris

Well-known member
I wonder how many bats are required before they are no longer considered 'endangered', or 'rare', or whatever epithet in conjunction with them?

Chris.
IIRC bats are susceptible to genetic in-breeding problems if there's not a large enough colony to breed amongst; therefore there's no upper limit on what's deemed healthy. However, the flip side is that if a colony is dwindling and the in-breeding is too intense the entire colony can be wiped out very rapidly. Bats have amazing immune systems but the Achille's heel is they are weakened significantly if they in-breed.
 

mrodoc

Active member
It also depends on bat species. Lesser horseshoe bats tend to be solitary in their roosting habits and move around a fair bit. They are probably using Goatchurch as a daytime roost. We kept a bat count in Reservoir Hole for some years and the population fluctuated considerably although the distribution remained constant (ie when seen they would be in the same area). I don't think much research has been done on this but my gut feeling is that they often roost in areas where they would be able to detect subtle air movements eg passage junctions. This is based on observation. By the way LH's love conservation tape to roost on!
 

caving_fox

Member
I wonder how many bats are required before they are no longer considered 'endangered', or 'rare', or whatever epithet in conjunction with them?

Chris.


There's no hard and fast rule. Species can be rare on a local/national/global scale for added complications.
 

Cantclimbtom

Active member
Not sure about the conservation side but just perhaps maybe I've seen bats roosting, on my travels.. but I don't say where, go near them, take photos or mention where on a forum because the "... recklessly disturb a bat while it’s in a structure or place of shelter or protection.." and you could "...be sent to prison for up to 6 months,
you could get an unlimited fine.." (according to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bats-protection-surveys-and-licences) so OP is braver than me posting this thread ;)
 

cap n chris

Well-known member
Reckless disturbance is things like setting off fireworks, lighting fires/BBQs, having a rave etc.. Caving in a site where bats are AOK co-existing with visiting cavers isn't reckless.
 
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