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Explore the World of Bats

Your Buyer’s Guide from NHBS:
Introduction to bat detection Choosing the right detector Recording and analysing calls Essential bat books Field kit and accessories

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Bat Detection
Your buyer’s guide from NHBS Of the world’s 5,400 species of mammals, more than 1,100 are bats.
Bats are a fascinating group of animals which account for around one-fifth of the world’s mammals. They are also the only mammals capable of powered flight and live in most parts of the world. There is a great deal of variation in what different species of bat look like – ranging from a fruit bat with a wingspan of up to 1.5 meters and weighing around 1kg to the bumblebee bat weighing in at about 2g. While most bats feed on insects or fruit, others eat fish, drink nectar or even blood!

Summer 2010

One of the greatest mysteries surrounding bats was how they found their way around and located their food in the dark. It was only relatively recently discovered that many species of bat are able to orientate in the dark by emitting very short, but loud, pulses of high pitched sound called ‘ultrasound’. This behaviour – echolocation – works in a similar way to sonar on submarines. Bats listen to the echoes that return from their calls to construct images of their surroundings. In order to ‘see’ where they are going, bats can emit up to 15 – 20 calls per second at a volume that can be louder than the sound heard when standing next to a jet aircraft taking off. The development of electronic devices (‘bat detectors’) that convert ultrasound into sounds that the human ear can detect has been a major breakthrough in making it possible to listen to bats. Due to the different environments bats feed in, and the variety of food they eat, each species has developed echolocation calls that are specialised to their needs. Listening to these calls is fascinating because it provides an opportunity to identify many different bat species and to get insight into the behaviour of these otherwise very elusive animals. All of the 17 species of bat found in the UK use ultrasonic echolocation calls to orientate, for communication, and often for finding food. Using a bat detector at night is an ideal way to discover what bats are flying in your garden, local woods, or even around streetlights in towns and villages. It has never been easier to try detecting bats in your garden or local wildlife patch. The wide range of devices available suits all levels of interest from beginner to professional and entry-level models are available at very reasonable prices. By adding a digital recorder to your kit you can record and share your bat calls in MP3 format, send them by email and put them online. The right kit will last you many years – enjoy your bat detecting! By Jon Flanders Jon, who studied at the University of Bristol, is a member of ‘The Bat Ecology and Bioacoustics Lab’, an organisation conducting research on the ecology, behaviour and conservation biology of bats.

The 3 types of detector
How they work, their advantages and disadvantages, and their usage
Heterodyne Bat Detectors
How do they work?
Heterodyne detectors combine the incoming bat call with a constant signal generated within the detector so that the sum and different frequencies are generated. For instance a bat call at 45 kHz (end frequency for a Common Pipistrelle) and internal frequency of 43 kHz produces output frequencies of 2 kHz and 88 kHz. The 88 kHz frequency is inaudible and is filtered out and the 2 kHz frequency is fed to a loudspeaker or headphones.


+ The least expensive and best for beginners. + Exaggerates frequency changes of bat calls. + Allows sound recording of calls for playback. + Allows real time analysis of calls. + Immediately determine approximate frequency of the ultrasound. + With expertise they allow immediate identification. + Easy to recognise Doppler shift (bats in flight). + Able to detect bats at long distances.

- No sound analysis possible. - Narrow frequency band means species outside range can be missed. - Tuning is continually required. - Louder bats can bias population estimates as they are most frequently heard by heterodyne detectors.



The user estimates the species likely to be present and tunes to the appropriate frequency, once call is heard the frequency is adjusted until the clearest sound is heard (much like tuning in a radio!). Heterodyne detectors are recommended for non-professional surveys, or in professional surveys when used with other detector types.

Frequency Division Bat Detectors
How do they work?
Frequency Division (FD) bat detectors output sound which is a fraction (typically 1/10th) of a bat call. They work by converting a bat call into a square wave then dividing it by 10 to produce an audible square wave. For example, an inaudible 40kHz, is output at an audible 4kHz.These sounds can be recorded and used with sound analysis software.


+ Requires no tuning when in FD mode. + Broadband recording means that all frequencies are detected at once. + Records continually so nothing can be missed. + Allows for more calls to be recorded within a given time period than TE - reduces missed calls and false identification. + Recordings can be used for sound analysis. + Preserves rhythm of calls, which can be helpful in aiding identification.


- Frequency changes in calls not exaggerated (unlike heterodyne), which reduces ability to identify species. - All calls are heard at same time, which can make it difficult to distinguish species. - Picks up all ultrasound signals, can ‘clutter’ calls. - Sound analysis made using these recordings not as good as those made with TE detectors. - Louder bats can bias population estimates as they are the most frequently heard.


Dual FD/heterodyne detectors are useful for professional consultancy surveys and transects, especially as many detectors include a function to record voice notes, and all calls missed using the heterodyne function can be seen and measured on a sound analysis later. These detectors are able to provide identification to a standard that is adequate for determining the quantity of a species.

Time Expansion Bat Detectors
How do they work?
Time expansion (TE) detectors work by making a digital recording of a bat call at a high sampling rate and then replaying it at a lower rate afterwards. Most detectors allow the rate to be varied between 10, 20 or 30x slower.

+ Broadband recording means that all frequencies are detected at once. + Unlike other detectors, it uses original signal, preserving the whole waveform, making analysis easier and more accurate. + Recordings can be used for the most accurate sound analysis of any type of detector.

- Doesn’t provide real-time/continual recording, which means less accuracy and some bats may be missed. - Whilst a recording is being played back nothing is being recorded, so bat calls are sampled in small segments - Automatic recording (possible to use manual) initiatied by false triggers (non-bat ultrasound) can be an annoyance. - As with other types of detectors: louder bats can bias population estimates as they are the most frequently heard.

Usage for sound analysis later. Secondly, they can listen directly to TE output. Lastly stereo headphones can be used to simultaneously
monitor both the TE and heterodyne output.

The user has several options with this detector. Firstly, they can use the heterodyne function as normal and record the TE output

Choosing the right detector
Magenta Bat 4
Heterodyne Frequency Division Time Expansion LCD Screen Illuminated Display Headphone socket Output socket* Batteries** Frequency Range Bandwidth (+/-) Microphone Type P P Fixed level 4xAAA 10-130kHz 9kHz Wide Band Electret 154g

BatBox Baton

Magenta Bat 5

Mini 3

Batbox III D

Batbox Duet


P P P P P Fixed level 2xAA 15-160kHz 4kHz

P P P Fixed level 1x9V 19-125kHz >16kHz Broadband Electret Condenser 230g

P P P 2 channel 1x9V 17-125kHz >16kHz Electret Condenser 256g

Fixed level 1x9v 17-120kHz N/A Electret

Fixed level 4xAAA 15-130kHz 9kHz Wide Band Electret 164g

Weight (inc.battery) NHBS Reference #



Due August ‘10

Pettersson Pettersson D-100 D-200
Heterodyne Frequency Division Time Expansion LCD Screen Illuminated Display Headphone socket Output socket* Batteries** Frequency Range Bandwidth (+/-) Microphone Type P P Fixed level, 2 channel 1x9V 10-120kHz 8kHz Electret plus 2x ceramic piezo 220g

Pettersson D-230

Pettersson D-240X

Pettersson D-1000X ***
P P P P P P Fixed level, 2 channel 5xAA 32-768kHz 8kHz Electret condenser 600g

Batbox Griffin
P P P P P P Fixed level, 2 channel 4xAA 16-190kHz TBC Electret condenser TBC



P P P Fixed level, 2 channel 1x9V 15-120kHz 8kHz Electret condenser 150g

P P P Fixed level, 2 channel 1x9V 10-120kHz 8kHz Electret condenser 160g

P P P Fixed level, 2 channel 1x9V 10-120kHz 8kHz Advanced electret 170g

Weight (inc.battery) NHBS Reference #

Also available for long-term monitoring:

Pettersson D-500X

Designed to be left in the field for up to two weeks, the D-500X detects the full spectrum of ultrasound and records in real time. Thus, it provides much more detailed data than either frequency division or time expansion detectors, and is particularly good at detecting those ‘hard to detect’ species such as the Brown Long-eared bat.
*** Built to order.

* Can be output to tape recorder, mp3 player with input feature etc. ** Note that it is possible to use rechargeable versions of each type of battery.

Features in-depth
Other factors to consider while choosing your bat detector
Type of Microphone and Frequency Range
The type of microphone used in a detector determines its sensitivity. Electret microphones are most sensitive at low frequencies (<30 kHz). Piezo microphones are particularly sensitive around 45 kHz, whilst capacitance microphones do best at frequencies greater than 80 kHz. All good detectors are able to scan a frequency range of 20 to 120 kHz, meaning that all models will detect all European species. Thus, regardless of the microphone, you will be able to detect any species. The only difference is that if you have a piezo microphone (optimally operating at low frequencies) the distance you can detect a bat operating at high frequencies (e.g. lesser horseshoe) will be less than if you have a capacitance microphone. Some detectors improve sensitivity by combining more than one type of microphone, such as the Pettersson D-100 with its combined electret-piezo microphones.

Tuning and Reading Frequencies
If constantly scanning up and down the frequency range, such as when using heterodyne detectors for non-specific species surveys, users may prefer larger frequency dials to smaller ones as larger dials can be rotated quicker. Detectors will usually offer one of two methods for reading off the frequency; either an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screen or a graduated plastic dial. LCD screens are easier to read and can provide a more accurate frequency reading. Regardless of how the frequency is displayed, be it on the manual dial or LCD screen, there should ideally be a light source to enable the user to read the frequency without the need for an external light source.

Recording Calls
You can record bat calls from a bat detector on to most commercially available recording devices. Ideally the recorder should have a ‘line in’ socket to ensure the sound quality from the detector is preserved. If recording from a frequency division or time expansion detector, you can then use sound analysis software to identify species. The recording is turned into a sonogram (sound graph) on your computer for subsequent analysis. To transfer recordings from your recorder to your computer, the computer must have a ‘line in’ socket, which most modern computers now have (some laptops combine the ‘line in’ and ‘mic’ socket, which is also fine to use).

Listening to Calls
Most bat detectors have both an inbuilt speaker and socket for headphones. The speaker allows multiple users to listen to the same detector, such as when on bat walks. Using headphones rather than the speaker provides better sound quality and allows you to hear the weakest bat signals. Background noise interference is reduced when the speaker is not producing sound. If using stereo headphones, some bat detectors allow you to hear the heterodyne output in one ear and the frequency division output in the other.

When using heterodyne detectors, the bandwidth can be an important consideration for the user. A small bandwidth (e.g. 4 kHz) makes it easier to judge where a call starts or finishes, which can be useful when targeting a specific species. Conversely, larger bandwidths increase the likelihood of detecting a species when undertaking a general survey. For example, a detector with a bandwidth of 10 kHz, when tuned to 50 kHz, will cover 45 - 55 kHz simultaneously. Finally, remember the size of the bandwidth does not influence the ability to tune in accurately to a particular frequency.

Stereo Jack to Jack Cable Lead
Don’t forget your cable! This 3.5mm Jack (headphone jack) to 3.5mm jack cable lead is 1.2m long. It is suitable for conecting all our bat detectors to any of our sound recording devices.
Cable Lead #176857

Bat Equipment Catalogue

Summer 2010

of natural history books (over 110,000 titles), stocking our warehouse, helping customers and packing up orders for dispatch around the world – all of this is powered by a company-wide enthusiasm for the world’s flora and fauna.”

“Our passion for wildlife drives forward everything we do at NHBS: adding to the world’s largest range

HETERODYNE DETECTORS Magenta The Magenta Bat 4 is a Superheterodyne Bat Detector developed from years of feedback from users of earlier models. (Bat 5 has LCD screen.)
Bat 4 Bat 5 Bat Detector Case #171848 #171849 #181818

TIME EXPANSION DETECTORS Pettersson D-240X The D240x combines Time Expansion and Heterodyne detection methods allowing detection across all frequencies.
Bat Detector #175031

BAT DETECTING SOFTWARE Batbox BatScan v 9.8 Software optimised for use with the Batbox Duet, but also for use with other TE and FD detectors.
CD #176795

£59.95 £89.95 £7.99

Batbox III D The Batbox III D is a heterodyne bat detector, which incorporates the latest technology, whilst retaining all the best qualities of its predecessor.
Bat Detector #175131

Batbox Griffin* The Griffin has been designed to provide all the required functions for studying and surveying bat populations. *Due August ‘10
Bat Detector #180327



Pettersson’s BatSound v4.0 BatSound is an efficient, highperformance tool which includes a number of features particularly useful to analyze bat calls recorded from a bat detector.
Single User Licence CD #177310 2 User Licence CD #185638 3 User Licence CD #185639 5 User Licence CD #185640


Pettersson D-1000X The D-1000X combines Time Expansion, Frequency Division and Heterodyne detection with a built-in Compact Flash “tape recorder”.
Bat Detector #175032


Mini-3 The Mini-3 Bat Detector has a twist-on directional horn for increased range and sensitivity.
Bat Detector #171622

£279.99 £389.99 £449.99 £549.99


Pettersson BatSound v4.0 Upgrade
This upgrade option can be used to upgrade older versions of BatSound software to Batsound version 4.0.
Upgrade #182627

RECORDING DEVICES H2 Handy Recorder This high quality, easy to use and cost effective sound recorder is ideal for use with bat detectors.
Recorder #184062


Pettersson D-100 The D-100 is a high quality heterodyne detector employing three microphones of two types to offer maximum sensitivity.
Bat Detector #175027


GLOVES Animal Handling Gloves Extremely comfortable, supple, ultra-light gloves designed for precision tasks that require optimal dexterity and safety.
Small Medium Large Extra Large #180464 #180465 #180466 #180467


Roland R-05 Stereo Recorder The compact R-05 is easy to use, affordable, and packed with big-ticket features that raise the bar in its price class.
Recorder Silicone Rubber Case Carrying Pouch #186214 #186225 #186226


Pettersson D-200 This advanced heterodyne bat detector has a backlit digital display and an exceptionally sensitive microphone.
Bat Detector #175029

£209.99 £19.99 £39.99

£4.85 £4.85 £4.85 £4.85


ENDOSCOPES SeeSnake Inspection Camera II Make visual inspections of hard-to-reach nests, bat boxes and burrows. A field ecologist’s best friend!
SeeSnake Inspection Camera II #175039

FREQUENCY DIVISION DETECTORS Batbox Baton The Baton is an economic but versatile bat detector that uses frequency division to detect all species simultaneously.
Bat Detector #177263

Iowa Latex Gloves High performance latex disposable gloves for general lab and field use. Each box contains 100 gloves.
Small Medium Large Extra Large #180472 #180473 #180474 #180475

£5.99 £5.99 £5.99 £5.99


SAMPLE BAGS Gripseal Bags Grip-Seal Sample Bags with write on panels.
Small (Qty 100) Small (Qty 1000) Medium (Qty 100) Medium(Qty 1000) Large (Qty 100) Large (Qty 1000) #180139 #180142 #180141 #180144 #180140 #180143


SeeSnake Extension Cable Suitable for use with any SeeSnake endoscope inspection camera, this extension cable will increase the reach of the SeeSnake.
3ft Extension Cable 6ft Extension Cable #184846 #184847

Batbox Duet The Batbox Duet is a dual-mode bat detector, using both heterodyne and frequency division methods.
Bat Detector #175132

£39.99 £74.99


LCD Camera/Video Inspection Endoscope A 1m flexible endoscope allowing you to peer into nest boxes, bird boxes, bat roosts, and burrows in order to check occupancy and monitor occupants.
Video Inspection Endoscope #175047

£2.50 £22.49 £2.99 £26.99 £4.50 £40.50

Pettersson D-230 This dual detection model allows you scan all frequencies at once using frequency division then home in on a specific frequency.
Bat Detector #175030

Heavy Duty Polythene Bags Heavy-duty 500g polythene bags for holding larger samples or contaminated clothing.
(Qty 10) (Qty 100) (Qty 1000) #185252 #180145 #180146



£6.49 £64.99 £584.99 | Everything for wildlife, science & environment | Tel: +44(0)1803 865913 | Fax: +44(0)1803 865280 | 2-3 Wills Rd, Totnes, Devon, UK. TQ9 5XN

Bat Equipment Catalogue
BAT BOOKS The Bat Detective Brian Briggs and David King Field guide designed to aid the use of `mini’ bat detectors. As each topic is explained references are given to the relevant tracks on the CD.
Softcover and Audio CD | 1998 #79534 £22.50

Summer 2010


Schwegler 2F

HUMIDITY METERS Meter and Thermometer This instrument measures both relative humidity and air temperature. The large, easy to read backlit LCD includes primary and secondary displays.
Meter #183502 £79.99

The 2F is the standard bat box - ideal as a starter box to see if there are bats in your area.
Standard Double Front Panel #174814 #181809

£26.99 £33.95

Schwegler 2FN A larger bat box - ideal for woodland species. The 2FN Bat Box has two entrances - one at the front and one at the rear against the tree.
Bat Box #174819

Bat Workers’ Manual Edited by AJ Mitchell-Jones and AP McLeish This manual provides detailed information on all aspects of bats and is essential for anyone wishing to obtain a licence to carry out bat work in the UK.
Softcover | Edition 3 | 2004 #146440

Meter with Dew Point and Thermometer A digital instrument which has been designed to combine the functions of a thermometer and a humidity meter with dew point indicator.
Meter #183503


Schwegler 1FF The 1FF is open at the bottom, allowing droppings to fall out and is therefore especially suitable for hanging in inaccessible places such as steep slopes and house walls. With built-in wooden rear panel.
Bat Box #174821


4-in-1 Environmental Meter A 4 in 1 multi-function environmental meter which has been designed to combine the functions of sound level meter, light meter, humidity meter and thermometer.
Meter #183501


Which Bat Is It? RE Stebbings et al Excellent little guide to bats, giving identification key, advice on how to study bats and an important section on legislation.
Softcover | Edition 3 | 2007 #169033 £4.99



Schwegler 1 FS This type of box is very popular for accommadating large colonies, especially of great bats, nathusius pipestrelles and brown long-eared bats.
Bat Box #177100 £84.95

Data-Logging Thermo-Hygrometer A portable thermo-hygrometer designed to provide excellent performance in harsh environments and poorly lit areas. In addition to Relative Humidity and temperature, this device will display the dew point.
Meter #180256

Bats of Britain, Europe and Northwest Africa Christian Dietz et al This comprehensive and superbly illustrated handbook presents for the first time all 51 bat species that occur across Europe and Northwest Africa.
Hardcover | 2009 #178055


Schwegler Bat Tubes This Tube system meets the characteristic behavioural requirements of the types of bats that inhabit buildings.
1FR 2FR #178018 #180018


HEAD TORCHES Petzl TacTikka Plus Headlamp LED headlamp with 3 lighting levels and red flip filter .
Petzl TacTikka Plus Headlamp #174739 Petzl e+Lite Emergency Headlamp #174742

A Guide to British Bats Kate Jones and Allyson Walsh This fold-out guide includes 16 species of bat that live and breed in Britain.
8 page guide | 2001 #129064

£72.96 £74.95

Schwegler Bat Roosts This highly sophisticated Bat Roost is designed for the safe hibernation of bats in winter as well as for roosting during summer.
1WQ 1FQ #178017 #177099

£38.00 £25.00


WEATHER WRITERS WeatherWriter WeatherWriter waterproof clipboards are essential fieldwork items for windy, rainy or snowy days. The spring-loaded top is transparent so that you can see what you’re writing and folds flat when not in use.
WeatherWriter WeatherWriter WeatherWriter WeatherWriter WeatherWriter A5 A4 A4 A3 A3 Landscape Portrait Landscape Landscape Portrait #174600 #174585 #174593 #174598 #174595

Bat Surveys Bat Conservation Trust This book provides good practice guidance for those commissioning, undertaking or reviewing bat surveys throughout the UK.
Softcover | 2007 #169330 £19.99

£129.99 £89.99

Schwegler Brick Box for Bats This box should be cemented into a wall in a building or underneath a bridge, arch or tunnel where conditions are relatively humid.
Bat Box #181536

Habitat Management for Bats Abigail C Entwistle et al This manual gives general guidance aimed at conservation and land management advisors on managing these habitats for bats.
Softcover | 2001 #95381


WOODEN BAT BOXES Bat Box This Batbox is available as either a single-chamber (pictured) or a doublechamber box. Improved draughtproofing.
Single Chamber Double Chamber #179142 #179143

£22.99 £29.99 £30.99 £39.99 £44.99


British Bats - A Guide to Identification Using Sound Analysis

Due August ‘10

John Russ, Sandie Sowler et al Knowledge of bat echolocation, calls and identification has grown significantly in the last decade. In this practical guide, the authors present the latest data in a clear and concise manner.
Softcover | 2010 #181961

£18.99 £23.99

AQUAPAC WATERPROOF CASES A selection of waterproof cases designed to keep your equipment safe in the field.
Phone/GPS Case PDA case Waterproof Keymaster Ortlieb Mapcase #182064 #182066 #182069 #174690

Double Chamber Bat Box This double chambered box provides habitat for many bats. The heavy construction provides good insulation and longevity.
Bat Box #183446

£20.00 £20.00 £13.00 £16.00

TERMS & CONDITIONS All prices include VAT. Prices are correct at the time of going to print but subject to change at any time.


£21.49 | Everything for wildlife, science & environment | Tel: +44(0)1803 865913 | Fax: +44(0)1803 865280 | 2-3 Wills Rd, Totnes, Devon, UK. TQ9 5XN

Over 110,000 wildlife books and fieldwork essentials.

Global service - we ship around the world every day. Online shopping or invoice ordering for companies & institutions.

Huge range of books and field equipment items in stock.

Latest news from NHBS
BAT NEWS: Batbox Griffin due! Current bestsellers:
Advanced Bird ID Guide: The Western Palearctic Nils Van Duivendijk
Pbk | 2010 | £14.99 | #183860

The long-awaited Batbox Griffin bat detector is due out this month, available from 10th September (approx!). Numbers will be limited so pre-order today. The Griffin has been designed to provide all the required functions for specialists and professionals studying and surveying bat populations and features an onboard recording capability.
(For more information search for #180327)

NEW TO BAT DECTECTING? The Magenta Bat 4 detector and FSC fold-out guide ‘A Guide to British Bats’ provides the perfect starting point for those interested in bats and bat detecting.
Magenta Bat 4
£59.95 | #171848

Field Guide to the Birds of the Middle East Richard Porter and Simon Aspinall
Pbk | 2010 | £29.99 | #180983

A Guide to British Bats
£2.99 | #129064

New Naturalist 115: Climate and Weather
John Kington tackles a fascinating and often challenging phenomenon
Britain is known for its changeable weather patterns and diverse climate, but it is perhaps not commonly understood how these have evolved from the interplay of meteorological conditions and geography. John Kington draws on 2000 years of historical resources to tell the story of the development of this climate and the people who have lived in and recorded it.

The Biggest Twitch: Around the World in 4,000 Birds Alan Davies and Ruth Miller
Pbk | 2010 | £12.99 | #186657

A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia Indraneil Das
Hbk | 2010 | £34.99 £31.49 | #179356

Wildlife equipment:
New Naturalist 115: Climate and Weather John Kington Opticron Hand Small (Children’s) lens, 18mm, 20x Butterfly Net magnification
£16.99 | #180592 £13.00 | #174486

Available 2/9/2010

Discounted until 30/11/2010

Pbk | 2010 | £29.99 £21.50 | #152945 Hbk | 2010 | £50.00 £38.99 | #152944

various sizes*

Series 700 Mist Net (16mm Mesh)

*from £24.99 | #187218

Read articles and author interviews on Hoopoe, the NHBS blog: Join us on Facebook: search for “facebook nhbs” Follow us on Twitter:
Schwegler 1FF Bat Box With Built-in Wooden Rear Panel
£55.95 | #174821

Squirrel Trap

£19.99 | #186145

Fine Pointed Forceps

£5.99 | #185505 | Everything for wildlife, science & environment | Tel: +44(0)1803 865913 | Fax: +44(0)1803 865280 | 2-3 Wills Rd, Totnes, Devon, UK. TQ9 5XN