August wildlife – a month to enjoy butterflies and bats

Red Admiral caterpillar

Like so many of us, butterflies love the warm summer sun and can be seen in gardens spreading their wings to absorb some of its welcome rays. There are a total of 59 species in the UK, all a dazzling array of different sizes, shapes, and colours. Nowadays, however, as a result of habitat loss and environmental pollution, numbers are dwindling and even our most common types, like the striking peacock butterfly with its mesmerising eyes or the red admiral with its burnt orange stripes, are becoming quite elusive.

Butterflies and moths, their night-flying kin, form an essential part in the food chain; their caterpillars provide an ample food source for birds and small mammals like hedgehogs and voles. In their adult form, butterflies and moths are great pollinators and provide good protein for spiders, reptiles and bats.

Bats need a special mention this month as their youngsters begin to fend for themselves. No longer needing their mother’s milk, they can be seen swooping out from the roost, catching insects. The pipistrelle is the UK’s most common bat and, despite weighing the equivalent of a mere twenty pence piece, can consume up to 3,000 insects a night.

Look out for their droppings:  tiny black pellets, on windscreens or roof of cars parked in driveways overnight. Composed of the empty husks of thousands of insects, these droppings quickly crumble into a fine dust ready to add nutrients back to the soil.

Do: Make sure to keep your WildPod and NatureArk hydrated. A bucket just outside the back door ready to fill with water used for the rinsing of vegetables or hand washing for example can help save water.

Get involved: Explore the night-time realm organised as part of International Bat Night

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