As autumn rolls in for many species the breeding season is already a distant memory. However, for bats the breeding season is just starting. For most of the year the majority of a bat’s calls will be feeding and social calls, but in September this changes. Males use special calls to attract the females and entice them into mating. There is also some special behaviour involved in the mating season for theses flying mammals.
In autumn many bats swarm, coming together to mate but also to look for suitable over-wintering sites (or hibernacula). Colonies that were separate all summer will come together for breeding, preventing inbreeding within a colony. The perfect hibernacula will be dry, with a roomy chamber and a concealed entrance – there are many places on Alderney that fit the bill! As well as mating and looking for a spot for the winter the bats will also be feeding up ready for the colder months, when few insects will be around.
Unlike some species bats do not hibernate but go into torpor for part of the winter, sleeping on the colder days but waking up when it’s a little warmer and food is more likely to be found.
However there’s still a while left for bat activity especially in Alderney’s warmer climes. So make sure to join the AWT on a bat and hedgehog walk or why not borrow a bat detector from us for a couple of nights and listen out for the visitors to your garden!