Ponds attract a variety of interesting wildlife to your garden. You would probably expect this to include birds, insects and amphibians but did you know that your pond could also encourage bats to visit your garden? If you are fascinated by bats and would like to see them visit your property then here’s how to set-up and manage your pond.
Sources of water are important for bats both for drinking and as places to forage for insects. Ponds located within 1km of bat habitats will have the best chance of attracting these amazing creatures. But bats will visit ponds in any area, especially locations which are close to woodland areas. The larger the pond, the more bats you will see.
It is important to include areas of shallow water in your pond as it is around these that bats will find their insect prey. Shallow water also provides breeding grounds for invertebrates which are great prey for bats. It is from deeper areas of water that bats will choose to drink so these should also feature in your design. A large proportion of the water’s surface should be left free of vegetation and debris as bats require unencumbered, calm water to fly over in order to drink. Plan the orientation of your pond with the prevailing winds in mind so that you can guard against the fall of leaves and debris onto the surface of the water.
The growth of vegetation to the pond’s margins and floating vegetation may have to be controlled to prevent it covering too great an area of the water. Particular attention should be paid to preventing the growth of non-native plant species which can quickly take over the pond.
If you wish to encourage bats to roost near the pond then it is best located in an area surrounded by trees. Ponds in open locations are more suitable for larger species of bats, which require an open approach to the water.
Once you have established your pond it is fascinating to then monitor which species visit your garden and the level of bat activity. You can simply spend time watching the activity at the pond or you could consider investing in ultrasound detectors. These listen to the high frequency calls made by the bats and can distinguish between the various species.
Here are the bat species which are native to the UK and which may visit ponds.
- Soprano pipistrelle
- Common pipistrelle
- Nathasius’ pipistrelle (large areas of water such as lakes and gravel pits)
- Daubenton’s bat
- Natterer’s bat
- Brown long-eared bat
Central and Southern Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland
- Whiskered bat
- Leisler’s bat (Lakes and large ponds)
Central and Southern Scotland, England and Wales
- Noctule (Lakes and large ponds)
England and Wales
- Brant’s bat
Central and Southern England and Wales
Southern England and Wales
– Bechstein’s bat
Southwest England and Wales
– Lesser horsehoe bat
– Greater horseshoe bat
We hope that you gain great pleasure from your garden pond and that you manage to see many bats visiting your property.