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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Review: The BatLure From Apodemus Part 1 Of 2

Review: The BatLure From Apodemus Part 1 Of 2

The BatLure, from Apodemus in The Netherlands, is an ultrasonic acoustic lure. It's primary purpose, is to playback recordings of bats; in full ultrasonic fashion. That is to say, it accurately reproduces (plays back) the unique ultrasounds of (recorded) bat calls. Such a device is of paramount importance, in one's effort to attract bats.
This cannot be properly accomplished without the existence of specially designed hardware (especially the speaker), such as the one employed in The BatLure.

There are several types and brands of these machines currently available. Some are more expensive than The BatLure, others are slightly less. However, that old cliche (that everyone is probably tired of hearing) bears repeating here: "You get what you pay for"
I came across a small advertisement (online) for The BatLure (while browsing bat detecting equipment). And I was impressed, as well as intrigued. 
After it's arrival, I was also fascinated by the excellent design and build-quality of the device.
In addition, I was even fascinated with the very nice carry bag it is supplied with:


The carry case, complete with separate pockets for fresh/unused memory cards and used memory cards.

For those interested in recording bats, most notably, Professionals: The prospect of being able to lure specific species to your location, can make the difference between the success or failure of a given Project or Study. 
When you really stop to think about it, the list of potential owners would actually be quite long... Those who would benefit from The BatLure include: Bat Researchers, Educators, Universities, PhD's-in-progress, Bat Workers (performing Surveys or otherwise), those interested in attracting bats to roost areas/Bat Boxes, other Pros involved with Wildlife, and even bat detecting enthusiasts...
The Manufacturer of The BatLure has provided their own list of potential uses:
  • The luring of bats using recordings of bat social- and echolocation calls in order to catch them for research purposes;
  • To draw the attention of bats to a new potential roost to hasten its colonisation. For example: bat boxes, newly constructed hibernacula as well as new summer- and maternity-roosts;
  • The playback of bat calls during training and bat-detector courses;
  • The testing of bat detectors and sound recording devices;
  • The localization of mating roosts via playback of male song/vocalizations and observation of responding territorial males.
As with several other creatures in The Animal Kingdom, bats may be attracted to an area, by accurately reproducing their calls (essentially calling them in). The unique challenge with bat calls, of course, is that they are ultrasonic (and therefore inaudible to us). There is also a bit of a challenge, when endeavoring to reproduce calls of bats. The average/typical speaker is incapable of properly reproducing the ultrasonic calls of bats. This is where a device such as The BatLure is indispensable. 

 One of the many compartments of the BatLure's carry case, with pockets for fresh batteries and used/flat batteries.

This is the first time that I've had the opportunity to review such a device. And, I have been very impressed. Being fortunate enough, to have had extensive exposure to bat detecting equipment, I can tell you that the build quality of this unit is splendid.
Further information, Price, and technical specifications may be seen Here.

In the case of The BatLure - The hardware practically takes care of itself.
The only buttons/controls are: On/Off button, Volume Up(+), and Volume Down (-). 
By all means, those who are interested, may see the User Manual (in PDF format) Here.

Battery Holder (w/8 AA size cells), 4GB Kingston Class 4 SD card

The basic design of The BatLure, is that it's compact and solid. It sports a weather resistant and robust Aluminum enclosure. Unlike similar machines on the market, the speaker on The BatLure, has been afforded some protection by the outer ring. This helps prevent accidental damage to the speaker. And is comforting to have on a valuable piece of equipment.


Interior of carry bag, with supplied power leads (for providing 12vDC)

The unit is very easy to use. The only process which requires some effort, is getting the calls of (the desired species) onto the SD memory card. A 4GB Class 4 SD memory card is included, with the BatLure kit. I've successfully used bat calls (.wav files) which were recorded using both full-spectrum, and Time-Expansion methods.

The (extremely simple) software which runs/controls The BatLure is a (very short) text file. For those who  have been around PC technology long enough: Think of a .bat/Batch file, Config-type file; or an .ini file. In the case of The BatLure, it is a .txt file called batlureconfig.txt.
More details on these subjects, will be covered in Part 2 Of 2; where I will also discuss:
  • Typical workflow / Set-up.
  • Variables
  • Performance
To be continued...

2 comments:

  1. Hello, I've just come across this review for the BatLure. I wondered what you thought of it in comparison to the AT100 lure? The bonus of this is that no additional laptop/tablet is needed to run the lure. Are the quality of calls as good as the ones used on the AT100? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, I've never had the opportunity to test or review the AT100; so I can't say.
      However, other Bat Workers / Professionals have had good things to say about them. Best of luck.

      Happy bat detecting!

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