A group of people have gone batty to help Scotland’s creatures of the night.
Scottish Wildlife Trust volunteers have completed work to secure and upgrade a bat hut at Upper Nethan Gorge Wildlife Reserve in South Lanarkshire.
The hut was converted from a disused railway building hut in the early 1990s but was damaged by vandals in 2016. A large wooden board has been used to create a divide and keep half of the hut at a relatively constant temperature, while 14 new bat boxes have also been installed in addition to a reinforced metal door.
Reserve manager Steve Blow said: ‘All bats in Scotland are protected by law so it was sad to discover the hut had been vandalised after around 15 years of peaceful use. Fires had been started inside and the door was broken down, making it virtually unusable.
‘Our volunteers have done a great job fixing the place up. As well as securing the building, we’ve also made some improvements that should allow bats to roost here for longer periods.
‘Old dilapidated buildings are great habitats for bats because they are dark, quiet, and have lots of nooks and crannies. The hut does look a little bit like a prison cell after the repairs but it should be a perfect space for bats to roost and nest.
‘It could be some time before we know if it is being used but we’ve created a small viewing hole in the door and this will let us look for piles of poo left by any new residents.’
Upper Nethan Gorge Wildlife Reserve is an ancient woodland gorge carved by the River Nethan.
Seven species of bat were recorded on the reserve during the 2016 South of Scotland Bat Survey, including the tiny pipistrelles, natterers, Daubentons and Scotland’s largest bat, the noctule.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust is Scotland’s leading nature conservation charity, representing over 40,000 members who care for wildlife and the natural environment.
The Trust manages a network of 120 wildlife reserves across Scotland and is a member of the UK-wide Wildlife Trusts movement.