On Tuesday, in the heatwave, Simon went outside to hang washing on the line and discovered what he thought was a dead bat by the terrace. I was about to head off to the supermarket, but thought I'd better take some photos of the bat for the record and bag it up for the bat guys to collect later (yes, you need to put them in the freezer...)
My bat expert friend Virginie confirms that the bat is a Serotine Eptesicus serotinus. It's a large species (for France, which only has micro-bats), inhabiting lowland parks, gardens, and open country on the edges of towns. They live in association with people, very often choosing attics to roost. They are timid creatures though, and usually don't cope well with disturbance. During the active period, from March to October, they hunt beetles and moths on the wing, circling gardens, copses or street lights.
During hot weather it is a nice gesture if gardners can put out shallow water bowls for the use of birds, bees and bats. Make sure there are some pebbles in the saucer to allow easier access and prevent drowning. Set the dishes somewhere that will be relatively safe from cats, with a bit of height for ease of take off.
Remember that bats are completely protected in France, and it is illegal to handle them (except in emergencies such as we encountered).