Beavers thinning out woodlands may help to create good quality feeding habitat for aerial hunting bats.

A study carried out by researchers from the University of Gdansk, Poland has shown that bats may be one of the species to benefit from the reintroduction of the European Beaver. The study showed that trees felled by beavers opened up the woodland and the number of aerial hunting bats increased. The bats also benefitted from the damming activities of the beaver which led to the flooding of areas of woodland, and an increase in the numbers of insect prey for the bats.

Bat surveys carried out by the research group indicated that the species which benefitted most were species such as common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle and nathusius pipistrelle and also the noctule bat.

Daubentons bats which are closely associated with water did not benefit as much as expected. This is possibly because daubentons bats like to hunt low over water using a reflected echolocation pulse to locate prey. The water in the flooded woodlands was quickly populated by aquatic plant species such as duckweed which scatters the echolocation pulse making hunting more difficult.

The reintroduction of the beaver could benefit many species such as the great crested newt.

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