Urban Wildlife


Estimated time to complete activity: 45 to 90 mins
Ideal for ages 14 to 18

Where optimal natural environments for bats are limited, installing a bat house is meaningful and a great way to connect to the world of bat conservation.

Bats are an important part of a functioning ecosystem. Making a bat-friendly place in your backyard supports the ecologically essential role bats have in the environment, including pest-control, pollination and seed dispersal. Setting up a bat house near your home is a great way to get involved in protecting bats. Plus, their nightly displays of aerial acrobatics are fascinating to observe!


Materials Needed:

  • Create your bat house using the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s guide
  • Power drill with driver bit (optional but ideal) or screw driver
  • 13 exterior grade screws (1 3/4 inch long)
  • Paint brush or paint roller
  • Roughly one litre of dark (black or dark brown) exterior grade, water-based stain
  • Two hooks or brackets to install the bat house
  • Foam for weather proofing
  • Paint scraper, chisel or shop knife
  • Mesh (optional)
  • Heavy duty stapler (optional)


Bat House Diagram

Step one:

Roughen one side of the back panel by using a sharp tool (such as a paint scraper, chisel or shop knife). This will provide texture that the bats will use to hang on. Alternatively, you can staple on mesh to the surface of this panel.

Step two:

Apply a layer of foam to the wide edge of the 3/4 x 1/4 inch spacers (on both sides). Place along the left and right margins of the back panel.

Step three:

Lay the upper front panel on top of the 3/4 x 1/4 inch pieces from the previous step and attach with screws. Be sure to pre-drill the screw holes to avoid splitting wood.

Step four:

Leaving a 1/4 inch gap from the upper panel from the previous step, place the lower front panel on the 3/4 x 1/4 inch pieces and attach with screws. Be sure to pre-drill the screw holes to avoid splitting wood.

Step five:

Stand the bat house upright and apply a layer of foam to the top panel, and then attach with screws.

Step six:

Apply two to three coats of water-based stain to all exterior surfaces. Allow stain to dry between coats.

Step seven:

Drill four holes in the sides of the back chamber to allow for extra air flow.

Step eight:

You’ll need to put two hooks or brackets on the bat house to install it. To ensure it is solid, attach the hooks or brackets on the back near each edge, screwing through the plywood and the 3/4 x 1/4 inch spacers.


Installation Tips – Bat Conservation International

Discover the best place to mount your batbox and what colour to paint it in this YouTube video.

Bats 101 – Canadian Wildlife Federation

Learn all about Canadian bat species, including their general biology and life cycle, and echolocation ability.

Don’t forget to post your creations on Twitter and Instagram. Use the hashtag #Arkive and mention us @MacLarenArt so we can share all your creative work!

Explore the world of wildlife conservation through FREE activities inspired by Mary Anne Barkhouse’s virtual residency Ark/ive. Visit the virtual platform for details: http://ow.ly/KES850EBTq6 #ExploreArkive

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