Bats in Museums

As well as my work with the Manchester Museum Youth Board, I have been involved with the conservation of live animals, specifically bat surveys with South Lancashire and Cheshire Bat Groups. I became aware of the South Lancashire Bat Group due to an Urban Naturalist talk Steven Parker, from the group, did at the museum last October. I have been doing some workshops with South Lancashire Bat Group, and last summer I did a number of surveys of the bat barns near Manchester Airport. Though museums have a reputation of being dusty and irrelevant to modern conservation, they can actually help raise awareness of conservation programs through talks like this, as well as allowing the public to see specimens of animals that are elusive in the wild.

Around a quarter of all mammal species are bats, and some tropical bats are vitally important pollinators of plants such as corn and tequila, only three species drink blood, and those that do only take a few teaspoons at once mostly from cattle. All British bats eat insects, and therefore mean farmers can use fewer insecticides. British bats are coming out of hibernation around this time of year, and it is quite likely that wherever you live, you will be able to see some bats flying around at dusk. I have a few pipistrelle bats (the most common British bat) that fly past my bedroom window throughout the summer.

Here are some of the bat specimens that the museum has on display:

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– Laura

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