Bats

Common pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle Nathusius' pipistrelle, Brown long-eared bat, Daubenton's bat, Natterer's bat, Whiskered bat, Leisler's bat, Lesser horseshoe bat, Brandt's bat


There are 10 species of bats in Ireland. Bats are insectivorous mammals and are capable of consuming a large number of small winged insects prey on nightly hunting trips so they are a good form of natural pest control.

The main threats to the species comes from changes in the wider countryside resulting in the fragmentation and loss of foraging habitat and roost sites

The increased use of pesticides in agriculture in recent decades has had a negative effect on the number of available insect prey, and toxic accumulation of chemicals within the environment can also poison bats over time.

Disturbance at and interference with their roost sites can adversely impact on bat species
The practice of chemical treatments of timber frames in attics which can poison an entire colony and make the area unsuitable for bats for up to twenty years.

The planting of trees and woodlands will in the future provide foraging and roosting opportunities for bats.

The increase in the number of artificial water bodies will also provide foraging habitats, particularly for the daubenton’s and soprano pipistrelle bats although poor water quality can affect the availability of their aquatic insect prey.


Bat Crimes

All bat species are protected by law in the Republic of Ireland under the Wildlife Acts 1976 to 2012.
They are also protected under the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011, as they are species listed in Annex IV of the EU Directive 92/43/EEC (Habitats Directive) as species requiring strict protection.
The lesser horseshoe bat is additionally listed in Annex II of the Habitats Directive as a species whose conservation requires the designation of Special Areas of Conservation

Without the appropriate licence granted by the Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht under the Wildlife Acts, 1976 to 2012 or derogation licence under the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011, it is illegal to:

  • Hunt a bat of any species
  • Deliberately capture or kill any specimen of bat in the wild
  • Be in possession of any bat (whether alive or dead) or any part, product or derivative of a bat
  • Keep, transport, sell, exchange, offer for sale or exchange any specimen of bat taken in the wild
  • Take or make photographic, video or other pictures of a bat on or near its breeding place
  • Wilfully interfere with, damage or destroy the breeding or resting place of any bat
  • Deliberately disturb bat species particularly during the period of breeding, rearing, hibernation and migration

Recording evidence at the Crime Scene

Assessing whether a criminal offence has taken place may not always be straight forward and other possibilities such as natural deaths, predation and legal hunting should be considered.

If you come across a wildlife crime scene or a dead bird or object that may be related to a wildlife crime, every piece of information is – or might be – important, but it needs to be recorded properly and accurately for the authorities to have a chance of prosecuting an offender.


Reporting a bat crime

To report suspected illegal bat activity contact the National Parks & Wildlife Service
Tel: 01-888 3242 or LoCall 1890 383 000

For a pdf of contact numbers for your local NPWS Conservation Ranger click HERE

If you can’t reach NPWS personnel call An Garda Síochána:

If the crime is in progress or about to happen, or if the offender is still at the scene or has just left call 999 or 112

If the event is finished then either call your local Garda Station (Garda Stations Directory) or the Garda Confidential Telephone Number 1800 666 111

[Although it will assist the NPWS and Gardaí if you provide as much information as possible, you do not have to give your name if you ring to report an incident.]

If the bat is alive and is injured,
also, call a wildlife rehabilitator/vet from the contacts page of Irish Wildlife Matters
Irish Wildlife Matters
If you witness any crime involving a bat please also contact Bat Conservation Ireland