Långörad fladdermus. Foto: Sirpa Ukura/Mostphotos
Long-eared bat. Photo: Sirpa Ukura/Mostphotos


At batmapper.org, researchers have so far received over 600 observed nests and 2,200 bat activities from people throughout Sweden. The benefits of using the public in research are many, says Heather Wood.

“We get answers and data that we would otherwise never get. In addition to contributing to science, people involved are also more willing to help preserving bats.”

What to do if you see a bat 

Report your observations at batmapper.org. You do not need to know what species the bat belongs to. If you know or suspect that you have, or previously had, bats in or near your house, your information can be invaluable to the researchers. Keep in mind that all bats are protected, so they must not be caught, killed or moved. All 19 species of bats in Sweden are insectivores, so they do not damage houses or food.

It is easiest to notice bats in the dusk when they fly out to eat, and at dawn when they fly back to the nest. This time of the year, they nurse their young ones and are therefore extra active.

The Batmapper project

Heather Wood med en detektor. Foto: Sara Cousins
Heather Wood with a detector. Photo: Sara Cousins

Heather Wood is a PhD student at the Department of Physical Geography and runs the BatMapper project, where researchers involve the public in collecting bat observations. Although Heather is currently on parental leave, the project continues and through the website batmapper.org the public can report all kinds of bats observations.

“We want to collect as much data as possible to understand more about bat colonies and how they respond to changing landscapes and climates,” says Heather.

Few places to build nests

Preferably, bats are looking for natural cavities where they can sleep and nurse their young. Since natural cavities have greatly decreased in number, bats can seek for housing in buildings.

“It is difficult to find out where bats have their nests, so that is why we want help from the public. However, we are not only interested in where they live, all observations are of interest. If you see flying bats, chances are pretty good that they live somewhere nearby,” says Heather Wood.

One purpose of the project is to understand what the surrounding landscape means for the bats to settle. Therefore, many observations from many different places are needed. Later, the researchers want to find out what role the microclimate in the nest, such as temperature and humidity, has for the bats to thrive.

“We are interested in understanding why they move and leave the nest,” says Heather Wood.

Help Heather and the BatMapper project by reporting your bat sightings at batmapper.org.