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How Bats Use Buildings

Bats use buildings throughout the year, but are most likely to be present (and noticed) during the summer months. While all UK bats will sometimes use built structures, some species are particularly linked to buildings.

Bats often found in buildings

Pipistrelle species

Common and Soprano pipistrelles are crevice dwellers. They use many features on and in a building but relatively rarely enter the roof void. Features used in summer include soffits, fascias, barge-boards, weather boarding, between roof felt/membrane and tiles/slates, around window frames, in cavity walls, under hanging tiles and lead flashing. In winter, pipistrelle species may use cavity walls or crevices deep in solid walls.

Long-eared bat species

During summer, long-eared bats will use crevices in the roof structure and under the ridge during the day - although they occasionally roost in the open within the roof void and frequently fly within the roof void. They can also be found in roofs during the winter. Long-eared bats tend to prefer older buildings.

Horseshoe bat species

Both species of horseshoe bat use buildings during the summer months. Usually they are found using roof spaces where they need flight access (due to their poor ability to crawl) but they can also use boiler rooms, often situated in cellars or in seperate buildings.  In the winter, horseshoe bats can make use of unheated cellars for periods of torpor.

Brandt’s bat and whiskered bat

These species of bats are crevice dwellers. In the summer months they may use crevices formed by the structure within a roof space. They might also enter roof spaces to fly around. These bats also make use of external features such as hanging tiles soffits, cavity walls and ridge tiles.


Serotine make use of crevices within buildings for summer use. They are not usually found in the roof void. Serotine are likely to use buildings during the winter, too, with the cavity wall likely to be an important feature.

Leisler’s bat

Leisler's can be found using crevices within buildings during the summer. They are not usually evident within the roof void. In winter, Leisler's make use of cavity walls.

Natterer’s bat

In summer, Natterer's bats are frequently found in the crevices of the substantial types of timbers often found in old barns and other buildings.

Building features used by bats

Which bat species are most likely to be found in various parts of a building?

This section lists the key features of buildings and specific built structures along with the species of bats most likely to use them and the season/s during which they are most often used. We emphasise that this is an indicative guide to the most common associations only.

  • Cavity walls: Serotine, Leisler's bat and pipistrelle species all year round. Natterer’s, brown long-eared, Brandt’s and whiskered in summer.
  • Roof spaces: Long-eared bat species, greater and lesser horseshoe bats and Natterer’s bat in summer.
  • External features: Pipistrelle species, Leisler’s bat, Brandt’s bat and whiskered bat during summer.
  • Cellars: Greater and lesser horseshoe bats (heated cellars in summer, unheated cellars in winter).
  • Roof structure: Long-eared bat species, Brandt’s bat, whiskered bat, pipistrelle species, Natterer’s bat, serotine and Leisler’s bat in summer. Long-eared bat species in winter.
  • Solid wall with cracks and crevices: Pipistrelle species, especially in winter.
  • Barns: Natterer’s bat and long-eared bat species.
  • Churches: Pipistelle species, long-eared bat species, serotine.
  • Bridges: Daubenton’s bat in summer.

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