The Church of England is installing bat nesting boxes in church belfries in a bid to stop them from causing hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to church interiors, The Observer reported Sunday.
Bats are common in English churches, but the acid in their urine damages priceless tapestries and their droppings do major damage to pews.
A nesting box trial already underway in bell towers in Norfolk, northeastern England, is seen as a solution to the problem. Church authorities hope the bats will make the belfries their home, instead of flying around inside churches causing havoc. The boxes also have infrared scanners to count the number of bats using them so the success of the project can be measured.
The plan -- which is sponsored by Ecclesiastical, the company that insures many of England's 16,000 Anglican churches -- is just one of a range of ideas to cut the damage bats cause.
Another plan is to hang sheets from churches' ceilings to interrupt bats' flights.
"We want to see if there is anything we can do to encourage the bats to use the churches in a more person-friendly way," said Philip Parker, an ecological consultant working on the project for the Church of England.
Read more: UK Guardian