Devon Bat Survey information

*PLEASE NOTE: due to Covid 19 and the current closure of most Monitoring Centres, this year’s survey is postponed until at least the end of July. Please check back here for further updates.*

To find out when survey bookings open, keep an eye out here for updates, or subscribe to our website to receive our regular e-newsletters.

Read on to find out how the survey works…

SM4 Bat Detector
                 SM4 Bat Detector

What is Devon Bat Survey?

Want to know what bats are on your favourite walk, or in your local area?  

Borrow a bat detector to find out as part of the Devon Bat Survey. Read all of the information below before booking your detector.

All bats have a slightly different sound which they use for echolocation. We use SM4 bat detectors to listen to the bats’ calls to hear the different species. To find out more watch You Tube tutorials from Wildlife Acoustics.

How does it work?

From April-September, you can borrow an SM4 bat detector for 4 days from 20 Monitoring Centres across Devon.  We ask that you only make one booking to allow as many people as possible to take part in the survey.

Step 1

Choose a 1km grid square from our online map to put your detector in.

Step 2

You receive an email inviting you to book a detector from one of the 20 Monitoring Centres.

Step 3

Don’t forget to put the booking date on your calendar! You receive a reminder a couple of days before you need to collect the equipment.

Step 4

Collect the detector, and follow the instructions to put it out for 3 nights in your chosen grid square. The detector will record any bats which pass by on an SD card.

Post back your SD card back to us.

Step 5

Return the detector on the agreed day so it can be prepared for the next person.  

What if I don’t own the land I want to survey?

You must speak to the landowner before choosing a square to gain permission. Click here to download a letter to give to the landowner explaining about the survey. We will also need a signed form (click here to download the form) returned after the survey. The form also gives you information on how to find out who owns the land. If you choose a square and then cannot gain permission, contact the project team. We will help you choose another square. If you are placing the detector on someone else’s land, you must take someone else with you whilst you do so (for health and safety reasons).

What happens to the results?

Once the data has been analysed, a report will be sent to you, showing you all the bats that passed by. This can take up to 6 weeks, don’t forget to check your junk folder!). The report will come from one of the project team on an email address.

The information you collect will help us to understand where greater horseshoe bats live right across Devon. It could result in finding new roosts and will make sure that our work is focused in the right areas. Data on all bat species will be passed on to the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre.

In 2020 new maps showing all the Greater Horseshoe Bat data recorded will be added to the website. We are  working to verify the other 500,000 potential bat passes that have been recorded – an enormous task that involves manually viewing each file! We will also provide more information on all the species recorded so far.

Information for participants

Read more on our downloads page.

The map below shows the 20 Monitoring Centres across Devon who supported the project in 2019.

Monitoring Centre Map