Batty Information

This is where you will find some information about the bats found in Staffordshire.


Brown Long Eared bat after care and rehabilitation - ready to go!


Pipistrelles

Pipistrelles are the commonest and most widespread of all British bat species. There are two very similar species, common and soprano that were only formally separated in 1999. They have a fast and jerky flight
and can consume up to 3,000 insects (mostly midges and small flies) in one night! The two species look very similar and the easiest way to tell them apart is from the peak frequency of their echolocation calls. Sopranos tend to be found near water but there is a lot of overlap between the two species. A third species called Nathusius pipistrelle has not yet been confirmed in Staffordshire but is probably present. This species tends to occur near large water bodies such as lakes and reservoirs.
Staffordshire Bat Group


Noctule

The Noctule is one of the largest British species and is usually the first bat to appear in the evening, sometimes even before sunset. Noctules are open country bats and fly high and fast with repeated steep dives to catch insects. In spring they eat mostly smaller insects switching to larger prey such as cockchafer beetles and yellow underwing moth species.



Leisler’s

The Leisler’s bat is similar to the Noctule, but smaller, with longer fur, particularly around the shoulders and the upper back, giving it a lion’s mane appearance.  They have a similar flight and echolocation call to Noctule and the two can be easily mistaken for one another.
Staffordshire Bat Group


Serotine

The Serotine is similar to Noctules and Leisler’s but has a slightly different echolocation call. This species has only recently been confirmed as being present in Staffordshire. It is a species that appears to be expanding its range north and west from its original southern stronghold. Having caught a large beetle, a Serotine will fly around slowly, chewing its prey and dropping the wing cases or sometimes takes its prey to a feeding perch.
Staffordshire Bat Group


Brown long eared

One of the most recognisable species due to its massive ears. When resting they will often curl their ears up or tuck them under their wings. The ears are used to listen for insects when gleaning, which is where they fly slowly and pick moths and spiders up off leaves and bark. Their echolocation call is very quiet and they are sometimes called whispering bats.

Staffordshire Bat Group


Brandt’s/Whiskered/Alcathoe

Brandt’s are part of a group called WABs comprising them Whiskered and Alcathoe bats. They are all very similar to the point where often DNA analysis on their droppings is required to definitively separate Alcathoe
from the others. Both Whiskered and Brandt’s are small species with somewhat shaggy fur – Brandt’s bat is slightly larger than whiskered bat. The two species are most reliably separated by differences in dentition and penis shape. They are mostly woodland species with a rapid and skilful flight and can pick their prey, such as spiders and moths, off foliage and often feed near water. So far we have Whiskered and Brandt’s in Staffordshire but there could well be Alcathoe out there as well.
Staffordshire Bat GroupStaffordshire Bat Group


Daubenton’s

Daubenton’s are Myotis bats with a brown topside and white underbelly. Also known as the water bat this species has big hairy feet to grab insects from the surface of the water. They can often be seen flying low over lakes and canals. Other bats, like pipistrelles, can be seen flying over water but Daubenton’s are usually the ones you see flying really low over the surface of the water.



Natterer’s

Natterer’s are another Myotis species with a needle-like tragus (inner lobe of ear). The arms are quite pinkish and it has been called the red-armed bat. They are woodland bats able to pick insects off leaves and have been filmed taking spiders from within their webs.
Staffordshire bat groupStaffordshire bat group


Lesser Horseshoe

Along with the Greater Horseshoe the only bat you will find in the UK hanging upside down on the roof of a cave/building in your classic bat pose. Called Horseshoe bats due to their complex nose leaf which helps with their echolocation. Very sensitive to disturbance and artificial lights and will actively change their flight routes to avoid artificial lights. This species flies very low, rarely more than 5 metres above the ground when hunting, picking insects from plants and even off the ground.
Staffordshire Bat Group





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