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UK Bats

Brown long-eared bat in gloved handWe are lucky enough to have 18 species of bat in the UK, 17 of which are known to be breeding here - that's almost a quarter of our mammal species.

Every summer, thousands of people venture out to experience the wonder of bats in their natural environment. Sadly, bat populations have suffered severe declines during the past century, but the Bat Conservation Trust and more than 100 local bat groups are working hard to help our bats hang on. Learn more about where to see bats!

Resident bat species

Our resident breeding species are: Alcathoe bat; barbastelle; Bechstein's bat; Brandt's bat; brown long-eared bat; common pipistrelle; Daubenton's bat; greater horseshoe bat; grey long-eared bat; Leisler's bat; lesser horseshoe bat; Nathusius' pipistrelle; Natterer's bat; noctule; serotine; soprano pipistrelle; and whiskered bat.

Alcathoe bat (Cyril Schönbächler)Myotis alcathoe

Alcathoe bat

The latest addition to the UK bat family, only being confirmed as a resident species in 2010 due to its similarity to the whiskered and Brandt's bat species.

 

Barbastelle (Hugh Clark)Barbastella barbastellusListen to a barbastelle

Barbastelle

A rare and distinctive bat with a pug-like face and large, wide ears. You can help monitor this bat!

Factsheet (PDF) / Latest statistics

Bechstein's bat (Hugh Clark)Myotis bechsteiniiListen to a Bechstein's bat

Bechstein's bat

One of our rarest bats, found in parts of southern England and south east Wales. Find out about our Bechstein's Bat Project.

Factsheet (PDF)

Brandt's bat (Hugh Clark)Myotis brandtiiListen to a Brandt's bat

Brandt's bat

Very similar to the whiskered bat, only being separated as distinct species in 1970.

Factsheet (PDF) / Latest statistics

Brown long-eared (Steve Parker)Plecotus auritusListen to a brown long-eared bat

Brown long-eared bat

This bat's huge ears provide exceptionally sensitive hearing - it can even hear a ladybird walking on a leaf!

Factsheet (PDF) / Latest statistics

Common pipistrelle (Hugh Clark)Pipistrellus pipistrellusListen to a common pipistrelle

Common pipistrelle

Pipistrelles are the commonest British bats, weighing around 5 grams (less than a £1 coin).  A single pipistrelle can eat 3,000 tiny insects in just one night!

Factsheet (PDF) / Latest statistics

Daubenton's bat (Hugh Clark)Myotis daubentoniiListen to a Daubenton's bat

Daubenton's bat

Known as the 'water bat', Daubenton's bats fish insects from the water's surface with their large feet or tail. You can help monitor this bat!

Factsheet (PDF) / Latest statistics

Greater horseshoe (Gareth Jones)Rhinolophus ferrumequinumListen to a greater horseshoe bat

Greater horseshoe bat

Horseshoe bats possess a distinctive horseshoe-shaped noseleaf.

Factsheet (PDF) / Latest statistics

Grey long-eared (Hugh Clark)Plecotus austriacus

Grey long-eared bat

This bat is generally a little larger than the brown long-eared bat and has a dark face.

Factsheet (PDF)

Grey long eared bat management plan

Leisler's bat (R E Stebbings)Nyctalus leisleriListen to a Leisler's bat

Leisler's bat

Also known as the 'hairy-armed bat', it's similar to the noctule but smaller with longer fur.

Factsheet (PDF)

Lesser horseshoe (Gareth Jones)Rhinolophus hipposiderosListen to a lesser horseshoe bat

Lesser horseshoe bat

Able to wrap its wings completely around its body while at rest, differing from the greater horseshoe bat whose face can usually be seen.

Factsheet (PDF) / Latest statistics

 Nathusius' pipistrelle (Gemma Russell)Pipistrellus nathusiiListen to a Nathusius' pipistrelle

Nathusius' pipistrelle

A previous migrant species, it has only been classed as a resident species since 1997. You can help monitor this bat!

Factsheet (PDF) / Latest statistics

Natterer's bat (Rob Parkin)             Myotis nattereriListen to a Natterer's bat

Natterer's bat

Its broad wings enable it to fly slowly and prey on a wide variety of insects, even snatching spiders from their webs!

Factsheet (PDF) / Latest statistics

Noctule (R E Stebbings)    Nyctalus noctulaListen to a noctule

Noctule

This bat has long narrow wings and flies in a straight line, very high and fast. It's our biggest bat, but it's still smaller than the palm of your hand!

Factsheet (PDF) / Latest statistics

Serotine (Hugh Clark)Eptesicus serotinusListen to a serotine

Serotine

The Serotine has broad wings and a leisurely flapping flight.

Factsheet (PDF) / Latest statistics

Soprano pipistrelle (J J Kaczanow) Pipistrellus pygmaeusListen to a soprano pipistrelle

Soprano pipistrelle

Similar to common pipistrelle but distinguished by its higher frequency echolocation call.

Factsheet (PDF) / Latest statistics

Whiskered (J J Kaczanow)     Myotis mystacinusListen to a whiskered bat

Whiskered bat

Slightly smaller than Brandt's bat but sharing the same shaggy fur.

Factsheet (PDF) / Latest statistics

Vagrant species and occasional visitors

Greater mouse-eared (John Black)         Myotis myotis

Greater mouse-eared bat

This bat was officially declared extinct in 1990, but a solitary individual has been hibernating in southern England since 2002.

Factsheet (PDF)

There are a number of other non-resident bat species that occasionally make apperances on our shores having blown over from the continent, notably Kuhl's pipistrelle and parti-coloured bat. You can find our more about our vagarant species are detailed in the vagrant species factsheet.

Find out more


Scotland's Bats (291 KB) - 01/01/04
Fact sheet on the different species of bat found in Scotland

Amazing Bats (2 MB) - 19/01/11
General information about UK bat species.

Species population trends

Bats and woodland

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Bat Helpline

0845 1300 228