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We as humans are creatures that enjoy companionship and often fill our homes with a family of loved ones. In a lot of ways, bats are no different to us as they form colonies with their peers called a roost. These roosts are usually in dark, warm places safe from any potential predators in areas such as caves, abandoned mine shafts, attics, or barns to name a few.
These roosts will often be subject to change throughout the year, with the colony breaking apart or reforming in a new location. These roosts serve as a great place for bats to hibernate during the winter months or for females to raise young during the maternity season. Plus, these roosts will be ideally placed for the bats in the colony to hunt insects. These roosts are the focal point of what makes up the natural
habitat of a bat.
Bats are not picky when it comes to the general location of their habitat. Admittedly, bats will prefer to base themselves in more remote locations where they can be one with the wilderness. However, bats are more than capable of setting up a base of operations in built-up cities and residential areas.
The ideal space for a bat to set up a roost will have high, rough ceilings that are perfect for hanging from. Then as well as this, the bat colony will need to have space that is warm but not hot. So, to achieve this, the space should be exposed to sunlight in the morning but shielded from the rays of the sun during the middle of the day when it is hottest. This allows bats to stay at a healthy temperature without being exposed to the sun the whole day.
The colony will also base its home around a permanent water source as well. So it is likely that there will be a river, lake, pond, or manmade body of water nearby for them to remain hydrated.
Yes, you can and in a lot of cases, this can be very helpful for the colony, especially if there are no natural spaces for bats to occupy. Bats will often use trees for their colony when push comes to shove but in truth, these areas are easily the worst of the options that bats will deem acceptable. However, these areas are exposed to the elements, to potential predators can lead to bats evacuating the roost soon after settling. Because of this, many people are building bat houses to help bats thrive in their natural environment. These normally look similar to bird houses with an open space inside for bats to nest and protect themselves from the elements.
The simple answer is, probably not. Bats will always go for the ideal scenario and if given the choice of a warm home with more space, more shelter, and more heat that rises to the top of the home without exposure to sunlight, they will always take this option. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t accommodate bats and build a bat house. Just ensure that your home is completely secure and that there are no open spaces for bats to enter through. Then if you manage that, the bats will choose the next best thing which will likely be your bat house.