My favourite event of the year happens in both March and September at WWT Llanelli, this has to be the Bat Walks! Generally, they are filled up pretty quick and the night consists of crafts beforehand for the children to make themselves souvenirs to remember their experience, this is followed by the walk itself which is usually about an hour long to cover both sides of the centre, which is followed by everyone’s favourite; hot drinks and biscuits!
I love bats, mainly because of the science behind them and how advanced they are and how they’ve adapted to living. It amazed me as a child that there were mammals that could fly! At this age it sounds silly, but as a 7 year old I assume I was thinking of some kind of flying pig or something, that was until I got some books and started to read about mammals and what they are capable of.
The bats we generally get at WWT Llanelli are Noctules, Common Pipistrelles and Soprano Pipistrelles. These species range from 25kHz (Noctule) to 55kHz (Pipistrelles) although it’s easier to keep it on 50kHz so the children don’t fiddle with the dial and can pick up both species making it more enjoyable. My job, is to be an educator of wildlife so bat walks are perfect for me since I can pass my love of bats across to a younger audience and hopefully encourage people to do more for bats and make them enjoyable, doing craft activities really helps to do this! We then divide the group of 52 into two groups, we group families with under 5s into one group meaning I have the flexibility to judge whether their little legs are struggling with an hour walk and go easier places or turn back for toilet breaks. We have three children’s bat detectors and one expert one which Matt had the pleasure of using, I have my own so used that. Once outside, we headed down towards the Bewick swans since there’s a good amount of tall trees which they usually like, this choice resulted in the group seeing some Pipistrelles flying around at dusk so the little one’s could watch them aswell as here their little chipper coming through their detectors.