We 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 80 local bat groups are working hard to help our bats hang on.
Resident bat species
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.
Scientific name: Myotis alcathoe
A rare and distinctive bat with a pug-like face and large, wide ears.
Scientific name: Barbastella barbastellus
One of our rarest bats, found in parts of southern England and south east Wales.
Scientific name: Myotis bechsteinii
Very similar to the whiskered bat, only being separated as distinct species in 1970.
Scientific name: Myotis brandtii
Brown long-eared bat
This bat's huge ears provide exceptionally sensitive hearing - it can even hear a ladybird walking on a leaf!
Scientific name: Plecotus auritus
Pipistrelles are the commonest British bats, weighing around 5 grams (same as a 20p piece). A single pipistrelle can eat 3,000 tiny insects in just one night!
Scientific name: Pipistrellus pipistrellus
Known as the 'water bat', Daubenton's bats fish insects from the water's surface with their large feet or tail.
Scientific name: Myotis daubentonii
Greater horseshoe bat
Horseshoe bats possess a distinctive horseshoe-shaped noseleaf.
Scientific name: Rhinolophus ferrumequinum
Grey long-eared bat
This bat is generally a little larger than the brown long-eared bat and has a dark face.
Scientific name: Plecotus austriacus
Also known as the 'hairy-armed bat', it's similar to the noctule but smaller with longer fur.
Scientific name: Nyctalus leisleri
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.
Scientific name: Rhinolophus hipposideros
A previous migrant species, it has only been classed as a resident species since 1997.
Scientific name: Pipistrellus nathusii
Its broad wings enable it to fly slowly and prey on a wide variety of insects, even snatching spiders from their webs!
Scientific name: Myotis nattereri
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!
Scientific name: Nyctalus noctula
The Serotine has broad wings and a leisurely flapping flight.
Scientific name: Eptesicus serotinus
Similar to common pipistrelle but distinguished by its higher frequency echolocation call.
Scientific name: Pipistrellus pygmaeus
Slightly smaller than Brandt's bat but sharing the same shaggy fur.
Scientific name: Myotis mystacinus
Vagrant species and occasional visitors
Greater mouse-eared bat
This bat was officially declared extinct in 1990, but a solitary individual has been hibernating in southern England since 2002.
Scientific name: Myotis myotis
There are a number of other non-resident bat species that occasionally make appearances on our shores having blown over from the continent, notably Kuhl's pipistrelle and parti-coloured bat. You can find out more about our vagarant species in the vagrant species factsheet.