Can bats and church wardens live in harmony?
- Credit: Hugh Clark
They are a symbol of Halloween and things that go bump in the night - not to mention Dracula's shape-shift.
Bats are also the scourge of many church wardens, nesting in roof spaces and firing dropping into the aisle.
But a new project is encouraging churches to embrace the bats in the belfry - and use themn to raise valuable funds and educate visitors.
Bats in Churches is a project to help churches across England which are struggling with the protected creatures.
According to the Bat Conservation Trust, 60pc of medieval churches are home to bats and in Norfolk they have been causing problems.
You may also want to watch:
Philip Parker, an environmental consultant on part of the project, said: "I have looked at 270 churches in Norfolk and we have only found three or four without bats.
"We have a lot of churches with medieval roofs, dating back five-to-600 years old, which are ideal habitats for the bats because they are so porous and there are gaps for them to get into."
- 1 Owner of new pet shop says he will put animal welfare before sales
- 2 Long tailbacks on A47 due to roadworks and lane closure
- 3 Three adorable abandoned day-old kittens adopted by stray
- 4 'Complete shock' - Neighbours stunned after cannabis farm uncovered
- 5 Driver stopped by police - 20 minutes after being given court ban
- 6 New owners of popular park café set out vision for 'beautiful' venue
- 7 Antiques Road Trip films at Norfolk collectables shop
- 8 Two women injured in serious crash which closed road
- 9 Widow fighting for wedding refund
- 10 Two men charged with murder of 23-year-old
Churches in Norfolk that are home to large bat populations include St Mary's in Gayton Thorpe, All Saints in Thornham. St Margaret of Antioch, in Cley, and St Andrew in Deopham.
Ione Bingley, communications officer for the project, said: "In some cases elderly wardens have to clean up after the bats but we want bats and people to live harmoniously together.
"They are an important part of our natural heritage, for biodiversity and part of the food chain."
A partnership between Natural England, Historic England, Church Conservation Trust, The Church of England and the Bat Conservation Trust has combined expertise to find solutions to protect the churches whilst making sure they remain a habitable place for the bats.
The project offers cleaning workshops specialised for each church and the historical items inside as well as bat boxes to encourage them to stay in specific areas of the church to reduce damage.
It also encourages churches to use the bats as a tool to engage with the public and younger generations.
Some Norfolk churches are involved with bat nights, an event led by Mr Parker. It is a chance to get up-close and personal with these nocturnal creatures using bat trackers and infra-red cameras.
Mr Parker added: "We have been doing the bat night for 10 years and they have been a great success."