Bat (Common Long-Eared)
IUCN Red List Status: Least concern
Also known as the Brown Big-eared Bat.
Distribution: Widespread throughout Ireland and Britain, except for Northern Scotland and the Western Isles. Also throughout Europe from the Mediterranean to Scandanavia.
Habitat: Trees and bushes, inlcuding in inhabited areas. Can be found in cellars and stables during the winter, and in hollow trees, steeples and lofts in summer.
Description: Small. usually buff-coloured above, paler underside. Wings thin and translucent. Exceptionally large ears (34-38mm).
The grey long-eared bat (Plecotus austriacus) differs from the common long-eared bat, as it is greyer in colour and larger. It prefers open, cultivated country. In the winter it will hibernate, hanging from the ceilings of caves, going deep inside, where it is warmer.
Size: Body length 41-51mm; wingspan up to 28.5cm; weight 5-10g.
Food: Insects, spiders etc; nocturnal moths are main diet in summer.
Common long-eared bats emerge from their roosts fairly late in the evening, but are active all night. They fly at a height of 2-7m (occassionally up to 20m), and often glide or hover near foliage, from which they pick off insects. When flying, the ears are often bent back sideways.
Predators: They are sometimes killed by cats and owls.
Migrations: They are often resident throughout the year, and may occupy the same roost for most of the time. Many use bat boxes. However, long-eared bats have also been seen from a boat 72km off the Yorkshire coast. There are also records of them being spotted from lightships off the coast of Britain and also off Ireland. Long-eared bats are found as far east as Japan.
Breeding: Males are mature at 12 months, females later. Females often form colonies in summer, and a single young is born in mid to late summer.
Threats: Loss of broad-leaved woodland, particularly mature trees as suitable nesting locations. Remedial timber treatments - see more at Natural England.
If you would like to find out more about bats and how to help them, visit the The Bat Conservation Trust.