Bats Underground

Bats underground

All bats and their roosts are protected by law. Bear the following Conservation Code in mind to stay on the right side of the law:

  • Do not handle bats.
    This is illegal unless you have an appropriate licence.
  • Take extra care when caving near bats.
    Beware of dislodging bats from their roosting position, particularly when you are moving through low passages.
  • Do not take photos of bats or nearby bats.
    Camera flashes can be very disturbing – don’t use them if bats are present (it is illegal to photograph bats without a licence to do so).
  • Do not warm up hibernating bats.
    Warming up hibernating bats can cause them to arouse from torpor. Try not to linger in confined spaces as even your body heat is sufficient to cause arousal.
  • Do not shine bright lights on bats.
    Bright lights will cause them to wake from torpor. The use of carbide lamps in bat roosts is particularly undesirable because of the heat and fumes that they produce.
  • Do not smoke or make excessive noise.
    Any strong stimulus can arouse bats so avoid smoking or making excessive noise underground.
  • Keep caving groups small.
    Do not take large parties into bat roosts, particularly in winter. Rescue practices should be avoided when bats are present.
  • Seek advice before digging or blasting.
    Explosives can cause problems both from the blast itself and from the subsequent fumes. Sites used by bats need careful surveying to investigate whether or when certain works should occur. Digging operations may alter the microclimate of bat roosts by altering airflow.

Further Information

Bat Conservation Trust - Bats Underground information sheet.

Bat Conservation Trust - White-nose syndrome: Guidance for bat workers in the UK.

FSE - White-nose syndrome in Europe - fact sheet for cavers.

Copyright 2024 Council of Northern Caving Clubs.