Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: An analysis of the usage of bat boxes in England, Wales and Ireland for The Vincent Wildlife Trust

Published source details

Poulton S.M.C. (2006) An analysis of the usage of bat boxes in England, Wales and Ireland for The Vincent Wildlife Trust.


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Provide artificial roost structures for bats Bat Conservation

A replicated site comparison study from 1985 to 2005 at 52 woodland sites in the UK (Poulton 2006) found an overall bat box occupation rate of 8.7% (5,986 boxes occupied of 68,715 box inspections). Occupancy rates were higher in bat boxes in the west of the UK (15% in Devon and Wales) than in the east (4% in the Midlands and eastern England). Occupancy rates were higher in summer (10% in August and September) than winter (2% in February).  Concrete bat boxes had higher occupancy rates than wooden boxes, with types 1ff and 2fn being occupied the most (90% of records). Occupancy rates, bat counts and species counts were higher in bat boxes established for more than four years (18% occupancy, 60 bats/100 box inspections, 15 species/100 box inspections) than boxes established for less than one year (8% occupancy, 22 bats/100 box inspections, six species/100 box inspections). Occupancy rates were higher for Natterer’s bats Myotis nattereri in lower bat boxes (3% at <= 4 m, 1.6% at >= 7 m), and higher for noctule bats Nyctalus noctula in higher bat boxes (5% at <= 4 m, 7.2% at >= 7 m).  Bat boxes were installed on a total of 1,410 trees across 52 sites (with 10–208 trees/site). Ten different types of bat box were included in the study but were not installed systematically (1ff, 1fs, 1fw, 2f, 2fn, SW, Wedge, Martin, CJM and Messenger). Most trees had two bat boxes installed (120 trees had one bat box, and 23 had at least five). A total of 3,024 boxes were inspected and 68,715 inspections were made. Inspections were made in one month intervals but not all boxes were inspected monthly or yearly. Due to an unbalanced design subsets of the data were used for analysis.