For as long as I can remember I have been interested
in wildlife and all kinds of animals and plants.
I can remember being asked by my teacher at junior
school about birds, so I think the teachers already knew I liked
wildlife. I even kept caterpillars and toads
when I was a kid!
Bat man John Goldsmith
Most children are fascinated with animals, but
grown ups don't always encourage them to learn about wildlife.
It wasn't until I was at high school that I got
help from my teachers, when my biology teachers helped me learn
a thing or too. It all seems so long ago now!
I used to work at Norwich Castle for over 30 years
- I liked the dungeons best. They were really spooky and looked
as though they should have bats living in them!
But only a few bats would come inside the dungeons
in the castle. It was usually in the autumn when they needed somewhere
Now I am based at the Gressenhall Rural Life Museum
where Long-eared bats live in the roof of the building above where
What's it like being bat man?
It means being interested in these tiny flying
creatures and wanting to learn as much as possible about them. I
spend time looking at how we can help protect them.
It's very important that any work we do with them
doesn't harm them in any way. So we have to make sure we don't upset
them or damage their homes.
Because it's so important to look after the bats,
you need a licence to work with them.
The first rule of being bat man is that the bats
always come first!
Because the number of bats in East Anglia is falling,
my job to keep these creatures part of our wildlife is a very important
one. I love my job!
What does the job of bat man involve?
My real job is with the Norfolk Biological Records
Centre where we keep records of all kinds of wildlife that live
We also work very closely with other wildlife groups
in the county. This means that recording
the number of bats is only a tiny part of my day-to-day job.
But for more than 30 years, at weekends and evenings,
I have gone out with other people looking for bats and signs of
where they have been.
Daubenton bat colony
It's my hobby to be a bat man during this time
finding out the habits, likes and dislikes of our bats.
We have a bat group in Norfolk and the members
of this group get involved with bat conservation activities such
as making bat boxes, visiting people who have bats in their homes
and digging out some of the underground tunnels that bats may want
to hibernate in.
What can I do to help bats?
There are lots of small things that you can do
to help bats.
Read and learn as much about them as possible and
tell your friends and teachers what you know. There are up to 1000
types of bats on our planet!
Ask if anyone in your area has them living in their
house. If you find some bats, watch them
come out and try and count them. It's best to do this during the
Keep a diary of when you see them flying in your
garden and make a note of when you saw them. How early in the year
did you see it? When was the last bat you saw before hibernation?
Make some bat boxes and put them up on trees. You
can ask for help from your local wildlife trust.
If you have bats visiting your garden, try to get
your parents to help you grow plants that will attract moths and
other insects as this will help feed the bats.
cool facts about bats »