a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Do bats sunbathe?


What a ridiculous question!  It is a well known fact that bats like hanging about in dark places like belfries or caves.  In fact, our bat gave up his usual place behind the front door shutter last year to hang in the atelier when it was very wet.

So I was surprised yesterday, as I was enjoying sunshine and temperatures in the lower 20’s, that the bat looked as if it was doing the same thing!

Bats in France often find shelter in old quarries or disused railway tunnels so perhaps, after a winter of hanging about in places like that, a nice bit of sunshine on the back of your neck feels really good.

He often moves up and down the wall behind the shutter during the day but he had moved half-way out from behind the shutter, and because the sun was shining in from the side, his whole body was in the sunshine.  He must have been very hot because I could not have sat out in the sunshine in a black fur coat!

So perhaps sunbathing bats are more common than we think.




Author: afrenchgarden

Born in Scotland I have lived in England, Iran, USA and Greece. The house and land was bought twelve years ago in fulfilment of the dream of living in France that my Francophile husband nurtured. We had spent frequent holidays in France touring the more northerly parts and enjoying the food, scenery, architecture and of course gardens. However, we felt that to retire in France and enjoy a more clement climate than we currently had in Aberdeen we would need to find somewhere south of the river Loire but not too south to make returning to visit the UK onerous. The year 2000 saw us buying our house and setting it up to receive us and the family on holidays. The garden was more a field and we were helped by my son to remove the fencing that had separated the previous owners’ goats, sheep and chickens. We did inherit some lovely old trees and decided to plant more fruit trees that would survive and mature with the minimum of care until we took up permanent residence. The move took place in 2006 and the love hate relation with the “garden” started. There was so much to do in the house that there was little energy left for the hard tasks in the garden. It was very much a slow process and a steep learning curve. Expenditures have been kept to a minimum. The majority of the plants have been cuttings and I try to gather seeds wherever I can. The fruit trees have all been bought but we have tender hearts and cannot resist the little unloved shrub at a discount price and take it as a matter of honour to nurse it back to health. This year I have launched my Blog hoping to reach out to other gardeners in other countries. My aim is to make a garden for people to enjoy, providing shady and sunny spots with plants that enjoy living in this area with its limestone based subsoil and low rainfall in a warm summer. Exchanging ideas and exploring mutual problems will enrich my experience trying to form my French garden.

22 thoughts on “Do bats sunbathe?

  1. How fabulous, Amelia – I didn’t know you had a resident bat! Don’t know how I’ve managed to miss your previous posts on the subject.

    He’s taking a risk by exposing himself to predators like that, but gaining that warmth from the sun saves him some metabolic expenditure in warming himself up, I guess, making it worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Amelia. Your question really got me thinking, as they are cold-blooded creatures. I have lizards and snakes in my garden that love basking in the sun, so why shouldn’t bats do the same?! A quick google found this article: http://animalquestions.org/mammals/bats/are-bats-cold-blooded-or-warm-blooded/
    In the last paragraph they mention temperature regulation. Lovely that you can get such nice shots of him!


    • Bats are mammals and so they are warm-blooded like us but I see your point that it is a type of temperature regulation. I just wonder why he wants to warm up in the early afternoon so soon before his nightly flights. It looked just for enjoyment, but that’s my human thought process. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe it is for enjoyment – I’m sure humans are not the only animals who take pleasure in things. (E.g. Some animals take a liking to alcohol and have preferences for certain types of food – our cocker spaniel liked beer and Austrian smoked cheese.)


      • You are right, of course. But I have learnt that bats do have trouble maintaining body temperature when inactive and that is why they hibernate in colonies. I was wondering about bees. Do they fit into either warm or cold- blooded? I have absolutely no idea about how their circulation works, but we had a bee nest in our roof once and we could hear them (in the room below) cooling the nest with their wings when it got very hot. Or at least that is what we thought they were doing.


        • Bees do not maintain a constant body temperature like us. Their main concern is to keep the eggs and larva at a constant temperature to keep them viable. In summer with lots of brood and bees, the brood frequently needs to be cooled, which is what you heard. In winter there is very little brood and less bees but the bees cluster around the brood and can shiver to produce heat to keep the centre of the cluster and the brood warm. This is exhausting work and needs lots of honey to supply the energy and the bees change place sharing the heat production role with an insulating role on the outside of the cluster.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Just seen my first bat this evening as the temperature was over 20 today . We have a piperstrelle bat under the eves all summer, but he has not appeared yet. Great photos!


  4. I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard that they liked sun but this one obviously does.


  5. After a long winter, the sun feels good. Even a bat can enjoy that.


  6. My dermatologist would advise sunscreen and a hat.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Perhaps he was getting his annual dose of Vitamin D.


  8. I do think animals like to sunbathe and why not? I often see hoverflies, wasps and all types of bees resting on a large leafy plant in the sunniest spot at the back of the garden. The plant never flowers so they’re not hanging about for the nectar! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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