Page last updated at 12:57 GMT, Thursday, 18 June 2009 13:57 UK

Cottage bought up to protect bats

Cottage before development
The cottage as it looked before it was redeveloped for bats

A former derelict cottage on Gower has been completely refurbished exclusively for the use of bats.

A wildlife charity purchased the property at a secret location and has since turned into a "five star des res" for the rare mammals.

It has a new roof, walls and interior but has been specifically designed for lesser and greater horseshoe bats.

David Jermyn, field officer for the Vincent Trust, said the only occupants were around 600 of the bats.

The charity is keeping the location of the cottage a closely guarded secret as it does not want the residents to be disturbed.

It bought the derelict cottage about 10 years ago after discovering it was home to a colony of bats.

David Jermyn outside the cottage
It's a des res - five star property for bats
David Jermyn, Vincent Trust

Since then it has slowly been redeveloped.

Mr Jermyn said: "It's basically an old 19th Century cottage.

"From the outside it looks like any ordinary house - it's only when you get closer do you notice a couple of doors and windows have been replaced by grills.

"It's a des res - five star property for bats."

Founded in 1975 by Vincent Weir, The Vincent Wildlife Trust (VWT) is an independent charitable body engaged in wildlife research and conservation.

It's current work is centred on bats, polecat, pine marten and dormice.

The Gower cottage is home to around 600 horseshoe bats.

Mr Jermyn said there were around 20,000 in the UK.

"Horseshoe bats are so called because of its horseshoe shaped nose," he said.

"It's not the prettiest of bats to look at but it's a species that's very rare.

"Although most of them here are lesser (horseshoe bats) we do have about half a dozen greater ones as well."

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