Lesser Horseshoe Bat – Rhinolophus hipposideros
Habitat: Deciduous Woodlands, Riparian Corridors, Scrub.
Description: Characteristic horseshoe-shaped nose-leaf. Brown fur.
Size: About the size of a plum, they are one of the smallest British bats.
Origin & Distribution: Native. Underwent a major decline and range contraction in the twentieth century, losing populations in Yorkshire and the south-east of England. During the 1970s populations were restricted to Wales, south-west England and the West Midlands. Populations have begun to increase in these regions and recently the species has been found in Cheshire and as far east as Buckinghamshire. They are absent from Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Diet: Small flies and moths.
General Ecology: Maternity roosts are formed in the summer in old buildings and heated cellars. In wintertime these bats hibernate in caves, mines, and other underground sites. In milder regions of the UK, particularly in its southerly distribution they may remain in buildings throughout the year. They require good hedgerows or tree lines for cover whilst commuting between roost and feeding grounds.
Breeding: Maternity roosts are predominately female. These roosts can range from 30 to 500 individuals.
Conservation Status: These bats are classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List in Great Britain. They are regularly monitored as part of the National Bat Monitoring Programme. This regular monitoring indicates that the lesser horseshoe bat is increasing in Britain by 5.6% annually. Despite this they are still threatened by agricultural intensification, vehicle collisions, and artificial night lighting.
Smaller body size, roughly plum size, makes them distinguishable from greater horseshoe bat. Brown fur with a characteristic horseshoe-shaped nose-leaf. The wings are wrapped tightly around their body during torpor/hibernation. During the winter it roosts separately, rather than in clusters.
Range: 93-111 kHz,
Most energy: 110 kHz.
Average duration: 31.7 ms.
Confusion Species: None