By John Tyne (Parks and Wildlife Commission NT)
John Tyne (Parks and Wildlife Commission NT) and Erin Westerhuis (Charles Darwin University) gave an excellent presentation and workshop on bat boxes at the Land for Wildlife birthday event recently. Here, John gives some hints and tips on how to create bat boxes of your own.
Thanks for your interest in the bat boxes that I was showing on Saturday!
The bat boxes I built were all made from one plank of untreated softwood timber. To make one of the smaller boxes, you’ll need approximately 1.5 m of timber that is 190 mm wide and 45 mm thick. I was able to find a piece like this at the Home Hardware shop in town. I used 70mm long exterior timber screws to piece it all together.
|The back piece||350 mm long x 190 mm wide x 45 mm thick|
|The front piece||200 mm long x 190 mm wide x 45 mm thick|
|Two side pieces||200 mm long x 190 mm wide x 45 mm thick|
|The roof piece||380 mm long x 190 mm wide x 45 mm thick|
|The base/floor||100 mm long x 170 mm wide x 45 mm thick
(this is the only piece that isn’t 190 mm wide!)
|Two spacers for back:||50 mm long x 190 mm wide x 45 mm thick
(these are to put on the back of the box so when you hang it is off the tree/post a little ways)
On the inside I used a staple gun to put up some old shade cloth. Instead of shade cloth you could score lines into the back so that the bats are able to climb it more easily. On the extension out the bottom that the bats will have to land on to climb up, I scored the timber using a hand saw. You could also put shade cloth on this instead. The gap at the base should be around 20 mm wide to allow the bats to climb in. On the boxes I made, I put an exterior grade metal hinge and two magnetic clasps on the lid so that I could open it. You could simplify things by just fixing the lid down with screws and not using a hinge. Depending on where you hang it, you could just screw it straight to an object (shed/post), or you could strap it to a tree. Try and hang the box at least 3 meters high, in a sheltered area but with a clear flight path to the box entry.
Good luck putting this together, and let me know if you have some success with bats moving in. Any questions feel free to ask!
~ John Tyne
Build bat boxes to install on your property and provide them with a safe space by following John Tyne’s helpful instructions. You can also download some fact sheets that were provided by the crew on the day, including Boxes for Bats and also the Bat Roost Box Kit.