The greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis) is the largest bat that occurs in Britain. It was officially declared extinct in 1990 in the UK. It was presumed extinct because number of individuals were so low.
The past twenty-five years have seen very few records of this
species, but this is not to say they are the only ones around.
A lone 17 year old male did not return to his hibernation site in Sussex in 1991. The last known colony was a few miles from Bognor Regis and contained several females until 1985 which was the year of their mysterious disappearance. Their departure happened around the time that a nearby cottage was destroyed by fire and as the females tend to form maternity colonies in attics they may have perished in this incident. However in January 2001 an emaciated female was found in Bognor Regis but died shortly afterwards. It is thought that she may have been moving between hibernation sites and was caught out by the cold weather. From her worn teeth she was presumed to be quite old. She was found within 5 miles of the last known colony. In 2002 a juvenile male was discovered hibernating in Sussex and has since been recorded annually at the same site.
The greater mouse-eared bat has fur on its back which is a sandy colour and this colour contracts strongly with the white fur underneath. The head and body length is 65mm - 80mm and the wingspan is 365mm - 450mm. This species of bat weighs 24g - 40g.
In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation. Please contact the Bat Conservationist if you have find a bat that you have recorded – they are always interested in getting any information.
To find out more about bats and how you can help these amazing but vulnerable animals, visit the Bat Conservation Trust’s website where you can become a member and discover the many ways you can get involved to do your bit for bats! The National Bat Helpline can be reached on 0845 1300 228.