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Individual study: Mitigating the impact of bats in historic churches: the response of Natterer’s bats Myotis nattereri to artificial roosts and deterrence

Published source details

Zeale M.R.K, Bennitt E., Newson S.E, Packman C., Browne W.J, Harris S., Jones G. & Stone E. (2016) Mitigating the impact of bats in historic churches: the response of Natterer’s bats Myotis nattereri to artificial roosts and deterrence. PLoS ONE, 11, e0146782


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

Manage microclimate of artificial bat roosts Bat Conservation

A replicated study in 2012–2013 at six churches in Norfolk, UK (Zeale et al. 2016) found that Natterer’s bats Myotis nattereri did not use any of the 12 internal and external heated bat boxes provided after being displaced from roosts inside the churches. Two bat boxes (Bat Conservation International design) containing heat mats and thermostats were installed at each of six churches, one inside the church and one outside at roof height. Acoustic deterrents and artificial lighting were used to deter bats from their existing roost locations inside the churches where droppings and urine were causing problems. Emergence surveys and radio-tracking were carried out at each site between July and September in 2012 or 2013.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)

Conserve roosting sites for bats in old structures or buildings Bat Conservation

A before-and-after study in 2012–2013 at one church in Norfolk, UK (Zeale et al. 2016) found that two sections of an existing roost within the church that were ‘boxed-in’ continued to be used by Natterer’s bats Myotis nattereri, but the number of bats using the roost after it had been ‘boxed-in’ was reduced by half. The ‘boxed-in’ areas continued to be used by up to 52% of bats (46 of 88) that originally roosted in the church. Up to 28 of the bats that originally roosted in the church used an external roost location in the church porch as a new roost site. The ‘boxed-in’ areas (5 m long) were accessible to bats via existing entry points and were sealed off from the internal spaces of the church. They included roof timbers and mortise joints that had previously been used by the bats. The roosts were ‘boxed-in’ after the build-up of droppings and urine within the church interior caused problems for human visitors. Emergence surveys and radio-tracking were carried out at each site between July and September in 2012 or 2013.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)

Provide bat boxes for roosting bats Bat Conservation

A replicated study in 2012–2013 at six churches in Norfolk, UK (Zeale et al. 2016) found that Natterer’s bats Myotis nattereri did not use any of the 12 heated bat boxes provided after being displaced from roosts inside the churches. Two bat boxes (Bat Conservation International design) containing heat mats and thermostats were installed at each of six churches, one inside the church and one outside at roof height. Acoustic deterrents and artificial lighting were used to deter bats from their existing roost locations inside the churches where droppings and urine were causing problems. Emergence surveys and radio-tracking were carried out at each site between July and September in 2012 or 2013.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)