Lonely Planet Writer

No plans on Saturday? Why not celebrate European bat weekend

A late entry for your diary, this weekend is ‘European bat weekend’, in case you didn’t already know. This somewhat spooky event began back in the 1990’s when the first bat nights were organised in Poland and France. Today it is an annual event arranged in multiple bat hotspots across more than 30 European countries. The purpose of the weekend is to draw public attention to Europe’s threatened bat population.

A fruit bat enjoying European Bat weekend. Image by Sebastien GABORIT/Getty Images

The events are held by local nature conservation organisations and can include species exhibitions, presentations, workshops on how to make bats feel welcome and of course, night-time bat walks. The organisers intend to aid bat conservation by providing information on how bats live and their needs, as well as dispelling negative bat myths. Happy bat habitats often require the public’s cooperation as the flying furballs can often choose to breed and hibernate in houses, churches and other public buildings.

The weekend is traditionally held on the last weekend in August but the definite choice of date is left to EUROBATS, the official event organisers since 1997. This weekend is thought to be best suited for bat observations as the bats should have weaned their young by this time of year and begin to leave their summer homes. Which of course means their mating season begins again, so they’re most likely to be out and about mingling at this time of the year.

You can celebrate bat weekend by seeking out your nearest bat viewing site or attend one of the organised events – just remember to bring a few bulbs of garlic if you’re not fully convinced the rumours aren’t true.