Bats in the belfry are major hang up for palace workers

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Bats in the belfry are major hang up for palace workers

Postby Wayne Harrison » Jul 21, 2006 6:33 pm

<img src="" align="left">
Around 30 long-eared bats have set up residence
at Dalkeith Palace, Scotland.

Bats in the belfry are major hang up for palace workers

A HUGE renovation project on historic Dalkeith Palace has been stopped in its tracks - by an invasion of bats.

A colony of more than 30 brown long-eared bats have set up home at the 18th-century building, which is owned by the Duke of Buccleuch.

Around 15 bats are hanging inside the palace roof and another 20 have set up a nursery in the disused belfry.

As bats are a protected species, estate chiefs have now been forced to apply for a special "bat licence" to allow them to work alongside the new inhabitants. If that is refused by the Scottish Executive, work will have to be halted until the bats leave in the winter.

Work on the project, which is costing hundreds of thousands of pounds, was well under way when the bats were discovered.

Park manager Cameron Manson said: "On shining a small torch up in to the eaves we were surprised to see little twitching balls of fur in the roof.

"Closer inspection revealed 20 or 30 cute wee things with smiling faces and a wingspan of around six inches and enormous ears."

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