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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 August 2007, 23:29 GMT 00:29 UK
Walks to investigate bat numbers
A bat colony
Bat spotting will take place in Inverness, Beauly and Nairn
Countryside rangers are to investigate reports of lower than usual numbers of bats in the north.

Highland Council will hold three night-time walks for the public to help better understand the effects of a long, wet summer on the mammals.

The events will be held in Inverness on 31 August, Beauly on 7 September and Nairn on 14 September.

Rangers said initial reports suggested there were fewer bats than would be expected.

Katy Martin, Highland Council's senior ranger for Inverness and Nairn, said bats played a "valuable role" in reducing midge and mosquito numbers.

"But there are so many prejudiced stories about bats - like they're blind, they suck your blood and get stuck in your hair," she said.

"These bat walks are a chance for people to find out more about them and experience the excitement of hearing and spotting them."

The events will be held between 2000 and 2130 or 2200 BST at Ness Islands in Inverness, Phipps Hall in Beauly and the Victoria Seaman's Hall in Nairn.

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