Devon Bat Survey – starts again in April 2019

DEVON BAT SURVEY is closed for this year

Please note that you must first request a grid square. This will need to be accepted by us before you continue to book your date slot.

Read this page and then click on the red button near the bottom to request a square.

SM4 Bat Detector

                 SM4 Bat Detector

View the results from Devon Bat Survey 2016

View the results from Devon Bat Survey 2017

What is Devon Bat Survey?

Would you like 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 more below and scroll down to the bottom of the page to book your detector.

All bats have a slightly different sound used for echolocation. Therefore we use bat detectors to listen to the bats’ calls to hear the different species. To find out more about the equipment you can view some You Tube tutorials from Wildlife Acoustics.

How does it work?

During the summer months you can borrow an SM4 bat detector for 4 days from 20 locations across Devon. You do this using an online booking service. We ask that you only make one booking to allow as many people as possible to take part in the survey.

You will need to select a 1km grid square from the online map to put your detector. This could be your garden, or in the countryside. After selecting a square you will receive an email within a day or 2 from confirming your booking, which will invite you to click on a link to book a detector from one of the 20 Monitoring Centres. IMPORTANT – if the email hasn’t arrived make sure you check your spam folder and allow access to this email address.

You will put the detector out for 3 nights in your chosen grid square before returning it on the fourth day.  The detector will record any bats which pass by on an SD card (you won’t hear the sounds).

If you plan on putting it somewhere other than your own land, then you must have the permission of the landowner. 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 are then unable to gain permission, please contact the project team who can help you choose another square. If you are placing the detector on someone else’s land, then you should take someone else with you whilst you do so.

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 normally takes 4-6 weeks from receiving your data, please keep an eye on your emails (checking spam folder if necessary) – it will come from one of the project team on an email address.

As more people use the detectors, this information will give the project a more detailed understanding of where greater horseshoe bats live across Devon, helping us to find new roosts and ensure 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 early 2019 new maps showing all the Greater Horseshoe Bat data recorded will be added to the website.

Information for participants

  • This risk assessment must be read and actioned  by everyone who takes part – Risk Assessment
  • If you have already booked, here’s a reminder of the Monitoring Centre details 2018
  • If the recording sheets in the equipment box have run out you can download one here.
  • Full instructions for borrowers are found here.
  • Check our FAQs for commonly asked questions.


Important – when booking out one of our bat detectors……

Please only select one time slot, to ensure that as many different people as possible are able to book a detector and take part in the Devon Bat Survey.

Choose a grid square by clicking on the link below. This will take you to our booking site (hosted by the British Trust for Ornithology). Once you have chosen a square and it has been approved, you will receive an email inviting you to book your detector slot. Please note down any specific details for your chosen centre, such as dates, any request to email/phone in advance, or opening hours. Two days before your booking you will receive a reminder with details of your booking.

Here’s another reminder of the  Monitoring Centre details

Please note that you must first request a grid square which will need to be approved before you continue to book your date slot.

Book a bat detector button in red with white text

The map below shows the 20 Monitoring Centres across Devon.












Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project