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Traditional determination of a bat species in a roost is often difficult to achieve and can result in unnecessary disturbances to the bats. Using molecular techniques, we have developed a tool to identify a bat species from their droppings.
eDNA Survey Seasons
Bat Dropping Identification
Although bat activity levels vary over a 12-month period, droppings found within roosts often stay in place for a number of months, meaning that if they have not degraded beyond the capabilities of our analysis, we can test the droppings all year round.
Speed of Service
Standard or Fast Track. Receive results within 5 or 9 days, depending on your requirements.
Discount on the analysis of multiple samples, to keep your costs low.
We will analyse your samples multiple times to ensure a reliable and accurate species determination is given on every occasion.
Prices & Turnaround Times
- Standard Analysis – £50.00 per analysis
(£45.00 per sample for 3 to 8 analyses per batch, £40.00 per sample for 9 or more analyses per batch). Report will be electronically sent within 10 working days from receiving the collection kit back at the laboratory.
- Fast Track Analysis – £70.00 per analysis
(£65.00 per sample for 3 to 8 analyses per batch, £60.00 per sample for 9 or more analyses per batch). Report will be electronically sent within 5 working days from receiving the collection kit back at the laboratory.
Prices excluding VAT
Buy Your Kit- Optional
Using the SureScreen Bat Collection Kit allows for on-site collection of suspected bat faecal samples and easy return of the samples back to the laboratory for analysis. The laboratory analysis is bought separately depending on the number of analyses required after sampling. One kit can collect up to 3 sites or up to 3 suspected different species.
- Bat Collection Kit – £15.00 per kit ex. VAT
You can choose to use your own sterile consumables to collect your dropping samples. If you opt for this, please ensure that droppings are not squashed during transit and you still fill in a bat collection form here.
Returning Your Samples For Analysis
If you have purchased our sample collection kit, the return address is on the box along with prepaid return delivery. Simply secure the box with tape and post it in your nearest royal mail postbox.
Alternatively, please post your samples to:
Church Lane, Morley
Please ensure that droppings are not squashed during transit and you still fill in a bat collection form here.
Do I need to use a SureScreen Scientifics bat dropping collection kit?
No! You can send your droppings in small containers such as microcentrifuge tubes. Make sure you send your samples in a sturdy container and not in a plastic bag or envelope as these often get damaged during delivery, which can lead to sample degradation. Our kits are the most reliable option to ensure the best results because they contain a preservative solution which prevents DNA degradation and means the samples can be stored for longer periods of time before analysis.
How long can I keep the kit before (and after) sampling, is there an expiry date?
Our kits are designed to have an expiry date with a minimum of 24 months from delivery if kept in ambient conditions. After sampling, kits can be kept for 4 weeks in the refrigerator or 2 weeks at ambient conditions. For best results, please try to sample and send samples back as soon as possible.
How much does a bat dropping collection kit cost?
- £15.00 ex. VAT
- Next day delivery if ordered by 1 pm
- Kit includes freepost return box for sending samples back to the laboratory
How many samples can I collect with each kit?
Each kit contains the resources to collect three unique samples, plus a reserve sample for each. You can choose to send in 1, 2 or 3 samples/sites for analysis, just fill in the form stating how many samples for analysis you are sending in and we will invoice you for the appropriate amount. Please make it clear on the sample collection form which samples are reserve and only fill in the details for the samples you wish to have analysed. If you want more than three samples analysed simply print off multiple forms and fill each one in with unique sample identifiers.
When can I collect a sample?
Samples can be collected at any time of year.
Do I need to collect a reserve sample?
We advise where possible to collect a reserve sample for each dropping. If the analysis process does not work on the first attempt, we will use the reserve dropping to do a repeat analysis. If you provide a reserve sample, you are more likely to receive a definitive species identification result.
How do I return my kits to the laboratory?
Please send completed kits back to our Laboratory by courier at:
SureScreen Scientifics Ltd, Morley Retreat, Church Lane, Morley, Derbyshire, DE7 6DE.
We also accept hand-delivered kits between 07.30 and 16.30 Monday to Friday, and by appointment 24/7.
Can I send you another company’s kit to analyse?
Yes, we can analyse droppings which are collected using other company’s kits.
How do I dispose of my unused kits?
Kit components can be disposed of or recycled according to your locally available recycling facilities. Sample preservative solution can be disposed of by pouring down the sink with copious amounts of water. If you would prefer, you can return kits to us for correct disposal.
Do I need a purchase order (PO) when returning my kits?
Yes, we are unable to begin processing a sample without a purchase order provided on the sample collection form. This means that there might be a delay to sample processing.
My result wasn’t what I expected, can you repeat the analysis?
We analyse a sample up to three times to achieve a result. If no DNA is detected after three attempts, we are confident there is no longer any DNA in the sample to detect. A repeat analysis would likely achieve the same result. If a different species to the one you were expecting has been reported, it is likely that any repeat sequencing would yield the same result. In these cases, we are therefore unable to repeat the analysis, without paying for additional sample analysis.
How much does the analysis cost?
Standard Analysis (Results within 9 working days)
- £50.00 per analysis ex. VAT.
- This reduces to £45.00 per sample for 3 to 8 analyses per batch or £40.00 per sample for 9 or more analyses per batch.
Fast Track Analysis (Results within 5 working days)
- £70.00 per analysis ex. VAT.
- This reduces to £65.00 per sample for 3 to 8 analyses per batch, £60.00 per sample for 9 or more analyses per batch.
How many droppings do you analyse?
Our procedure involves the selection of a single dropping from your sample for analysis. If you send in multiple droppings within a sample, we will select the freshest most viable dropping for analysis which is most likely to result in positive identification. We only analyse a single dropping and do not combine multiple droppings for analysis at the same time.
If the analysis doesn’t work, we will select an alternative or reserve dropping from your sample and repeat the entire analytical process. Sometimes, if necessary, we will use additional analytical steps on your sample in an attempt to obtain a viable species identity. We will not charge for any additional analytical steps which we conduct on your sample.
What methods do you use for the analysis?
The analysis follows a standardised procedure for DNA extraction, PCR amplification of bat DNA using universal markers that amplify DNA from all bat species. If DNA is successfully amplified it is purified and then Sanger sequenced. The resulting sequence is then assessed using bioinformatic tools in order to infer species identity, by crossmatching the genetic sequence obtained from the sequencing step to millions of DNA sequences from every species imaginable (including bats, human, bacteria etc.). Negative controls are used at each step during our analytical procedure to ensure samples are contamination free.
What species can you test for?
Our service can detect 92% of all bat species worldwide! This includes all 17 UK resident and visiting bat species.
We can detect all 17 UK bat species (listed below). Due to the robustness of the service, the analysis will also detect rarities and vagrants such as Greater mouse-eared bat; Myotis myotis, Kuhl’s pipistrelle; Pipistrellus kuhlii, particoloured bat; Vespertilio murinus. If the droppings are from another species such as a mouse or bird, the results may detect this though not guaranteed to as the chemistry is tailored to the bats above.
- Alcathoe bat Myotis alcathoe
- Barbastelle Barbastella barbastellus
- Bechstein’s bat Myotis bechsteinii
- Brandt’s bat Myotis brandtii
- Brown long-eared bat Plecotus auritus
- Common pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus
- Daubenton’s bat Myotis daubentonii
- Greater horseshoe bat Rhinolophus ferrumequinum
- Grey long-eared bat Plecotus austriacus
- Leisler’s bat Nyctalus leisleri
- Lesser horseshoe bat Rhinolophus hipposideros
- Nathusius’ pipistrelle Pipistrellus nathusii
- Natterer’s bat Myotis nattereri
- Noctule Nyctalus noctula
- Serotine Eptesicus serotinus
- Soprano pipistrelle Pipistrellus pygmaeus
- Whiskered bat Myotis mystacinus
Where can I find my results?
Once your results are available, they will be sent to the email address provided on the sample collection form before the deadline. If you have not received your results before this date, make sure that you check your spam or junk email folder.
How do I interpret the results?
This is the sequence of DNA which is obtained through the analysis. It is placed into our database and matched against records of all bat species to determine to which species it is most similar to. You can apply a search for the genetic sequence in your report by going to: https://blast.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Blast.cgi and the selecting Nucleotide BLAST, inputting your sequence in the Enter Query Sequence box and then pressing the BLAST button.
This is how similar the sequence from your dropping sample is to the sequences which are available in the databases. Usually, reliable sequences are between 85% and 99% similar to the database records. Anything below this can still result in a species detection but should be interpreted with care. Matches of 100% are rare, because most individual bats have small changes in their DNA, making each sequence slightly different to those in the reference database.
Why was my result inconclusive?
Bat droppings by their nature contain very small amounts of bat DNA. Our methods are extremely sensitive and usually result in species detection, however, in a small number of cases samples can become degraded to an extent that the DNA can no longer be detected, or that sequencing is not able to result in accurate species identification. This can lead to an inconclusive result.
If bacterial DNA is found, it can be an indicator that the sample has been colonised by bacteria.
Amplification of other species, such as cow, bird, fungi, human, can be as the result of contamination (during or before collection).