Bats are warm blooded mammals feared by some and misunderstood by many. The reason being their nocturnal nature. The same can be said for all animals that feed at night, which includes Barn Owls, Badgers, etc. Bats are protected under the 1976 Wildlife Act and permission is needed from the National Parks and Wildlife Service to disturb a roost.
Advice, to householders that have problems, is readily available from the above authority. Bats are harmless animals. They rest up in the daylight hours, whether it be in attics, old buildings, or in hollow trees.
Irish bats (we have ten species) feed entirely on insects and, as a result, their droppings are dry and are not smelly, unlike mouse droppings, which they can be mistaken for. If you have bats in your attic they won’t cause you any problem, except sometimes they can be found in the water tanks. These are usually young bats trying to find their way around. If water tanks are covered there will be no problem there. They can also be found flying around the house in July or August. These are also mostly young bats. You can find them clinging on to curtains etc. If the window is opened and lights turned off they will find their way out.
Many of the houses in Cloneen and environs have bats. Often the occupant is unaware of the guests. This includes new houses. They come out at dusk from their roosts and fly off to feed. They can enter the roof space or other areas of a dwelling house through a very tiny hole.
Pipestrelles can often be found under the felt on flat roofs. They are the most common bat in Ireland. On a hot summers day they become restless and can be heard crawling around and chirping under the felt. This noise is often mistaken for mice. This species is very common in the Cloneen area.
The Cloneen Tidy Towns committee have erected many bat boxes, with mixed luck for occupancy. The box under the bridge on the Fethard road near Holohans have Natterers that occupy it occasionally.
Natterers are a noisy and aggressive bat when handled and will constantly try to bite you. They tend to be solitary roosters, mainly in cracks under bridges, Natterers also use the bridge at Garrankyle. Long-eared bats are the easiest to identify. They have huge ram-horn ears. Twenty were counted emerging from a house near the village. The owner is aware of them.
The church in Cloneen has at least eighty Pipistrelles.
Daubentons can be seen feeding at night at Melbourne Bridge and are likely to be roosting in the old mill or in the stonework under the bridge. These locations should not be disturbed in any way.
Cloneen Tidy Towns Group will continue to monitor the bats in the vicinity of the village.More bat boxes will be erected to try and attract them.
If any local residents have problems with bats or have a fear of them in their houses (which many people have) they should leave bats undisturbed and contact a member of the committee, who will advise them on how to proceed.
Compiled By: P.Clancy