Build a bat box

Building a bat box gives them somewhere safe to roost, raise their pups and sleep during the day.

A lone Daubenton’s Bat flying low over dark water.

Lots of us enjoy seeing bats flit across the evening sky and some of us are even lucky enough to have them roosting in our gardens. 

Sadly though, they’re becoming increasingly rare in the UK. Like so many other animals, a gradual loss of habitat and roost sites are seeing numbers decline at an alarming rate. There are things that we can do to help though.

Building a bat box gives bats somewhere safe to roost, raise their pups and sleep during the day.

Estimated time: 3-4 hours Season: All year Skill level: Advanced


The basic principles of a bat box

They should be made from untreated wood – wood that has not been pressure-treated with chemicals. Bats are sensitive to smells and preservative chemicals may be harmful to them.

The bat box should also be made from rough-sawn wood (rather than smooth, planed wood). It'll also need to have good, tight joints – bats hate a draught!

It'll need a narrow slit at the back of the box, with a rough piece of wood leading up to it that they can clamber up. The very best bat box is one with two or more internal compartments, and one that is as large as possible – a deep cavern makes bats feel really safe and keeps the air temperature more constant.

Make sure you have the right wood

To make your own bat box, get hold of some untreated, rough-sawn wood. That can be easier said than done! You will probably need to go to a saw yard rather than a timber merchant, as you’re unlikely to find it at a DIY store. Make sure you look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo.

If your wood feels too smooth, roughen it by dragging the teeth of a saw across the surface – this helps bats get a good grip as they clamber around their new home.

A wooden Bat Box secured to a brick wall surrounded by ivy.
Partnering with

The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International.More