Bat – Bechstein’s

Bechstein's Bat

The Bechstein’s bat (Myotis bechsteinii) is one of the UK’s rarest bats, found mainly in woodland habitat in south Wales and south England. It has very quiet echolocation so hard to detect. The frequency is 50kHz, and the call sounds like ‘tik’.

Bechstein’s bats tend to forage in woodland within a kilometre or two of their roost site, generally high up in the canopy although they can be seen near the ground when drinking, commuting or socialising.

This bat uses deciduous woodland for roosting, foraging and almost certainly hibernation. mature dense woodland is ideal, ensuring that Bechstein’s do not often come into contact with people. In summer, the Bechstein’s bat roosts largely in woodpecker holes, although sometimes behind loose bark or in tree crevices (also occasionally in bat boxes). It rarely roosts in buildings. It is also occasionally found in underground sites.

The bechstein is a medium-sized bat, distinctive by its long ears and its pink face. It’s body colour is pale to reddish brown and greyish underneath. The length of the head and body is 43mm – 53mm and it has a wingspan of 250mm – 300mm. It weighs 7g – 13g and has been recorded as living up to 21 years.

Mating occurs in autumn and spring, with maternity colonies forming in April and May. Females gather in colonies of between 10 and 30 bats (and up to 100 in some cases), with babies born at the end of June to the beginning of July. Maternity colonies are often spread across a number of roost sites, changing their location frequently throughout the summer.

Like other the long-eared bats, the bechstein captures much of its prey by passive listening for insect noise. It eats prey from most insect groups like dung flies, grasshoppers, nut weevils, as well as moths and other types of flies.

In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

Many thanks to the Bat Conservation Trust for sharing this information; for more detailed reading please visit their website below.

Photo Credit: © Copyright Bat Conservation Trust