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Holy bat boxes! It's Batman and Robin! Caped crusaders help nocturnal mammals.

Byline: By KATIE CAMPLING News Reporter

DYNAMIC duo Batman and Robin swooped in to Cooper Bridge to help wildlife.

The pair were at Lower Brighouse Waste Water treatment works on Friday to help build boxes for pipistrelle bats who have made the site their home.

The Yorkshire Water works are undergoing a pounds 26m upgrade to improve the water quality of the River Calder.

Contractors Morgan Est moved in with a 120-strong workforce in March.

When leaving the site at the end of each day, they have noticed more and more pipistrelles arriving for a night's hunting.

Instead of trying to deter the nocturnal visitors, Morgan Est and Yorkshire Water decided to build bat boxes to house the night hunters - and called in the 'caped crusaders' to help with construction.

Batman, aka Yorkshire Water worker Matt Thompson, and trusty sidekick Robin, aka Gary Cooper from Morgan Est, used plant machinery to install 10 bat boxes at high points around the site.

Even super heroes have to abide by health and safety rules, so they donned hard hats and goggles along with their capes and tights.

Yorkshire Water project manager Gerry Smith said the comedy stunt had a serious purpose.

"Putting the boxes up was going to be outside the experience of our crews so we thought about calling in some more help. That's when we struck on the idea of asking Batman and Robin for a little assistance and we thought their involvement would help us highlight the work we're doing and the benefits to the natural environment."

He said bats had a bad name, being associated with vampires, ghouls and ghosts.

"Even thoughUKbats are harmless, they often get some bad press, particularly around Hallowe'en.

"The truth is they're a vital part of our eco-system."

Mr Smith said the noise of the plant machinery is unlike to scare the bats away, as their hearing picks up high frequency sounds and they have limited vision.

He hopes that the work to improve water quality will help other types of wildlife flourish on the banks of the Calder.

He said: "It's been rewarding to discover it's possible to progress with our construction project, protect local wildlife and work towards wider environmental benefits in the future all at the same time."

Common pipistrelle bats

They are the smallest and commonest bat in the UK

Maximum recorded age is 16 years old

The smallest European bats, they have dark red/brown fur on their backs and yellow/brown undersides.

Habitats include open woodland, parks, marshes, farmland and urban areas

Pipistrelles emerge from their roosts to feed relatively early, sometimes before sunset. They hunt small moths, gnats and other small insects. A single pipistrelle may consume up to 3,000 insects in one night


DYNAMIC DUO: Batman and Robin with a bat box at Cooper Bridge water treatment works Pictures by Peter Cottle (PC311008Bbatman-01); SUPPORT: Councillors and Cooper Bridge works staff cheer on Batman and Robin (PC311008Bbatman-03); DARK KNIGHT: A pipistrelle bat on the hunt
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Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Nov 1, 2008
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