Bat Species Found in our area
The Common Ones:
The three most common species - which ones you finds are very dependent on buildings and local habitat:
Common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus)
Soprano pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus)
Brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus)
Pipistrelles are the commonest British bats, weighing around 5 grams - often mistaken for 'baby bats' when found. A single pipistrelle can eat 3,000 tiny insects in just one night! Soprano pipistrelles appear very similar to Common pipistrelles but are distinguished by higher frequency echolocation calls and were recognised as a separate species as recently as 1999.
A related species, known in North Wales only from a small number of bat detector records, is the Nathusius pipistrelle (Pipistrellus nathusii). Work is ongoing to identify and track the movement of these (likely) migratory bats.
Brown Long-eared (and the less-common 'Grey Long-Eared') are called 'long-eared' for obvious reasons! The large ears give them very sensitive hearing enabling them to echo-locate much more quietly than other native species. Great for catching wary insects; not so great for finding them with a bat detector.
Noctule (Nyctalus noctula) - our largest bat, it mainly roosts in tree-holes
Serotine (Eptesicus serotinus) - quite common in Southern England but poorly known in Wales. One roost recently discovered in North Wales.
Leisler’s (Nyctalus leisleri) may have been overlooked in Wales though known to be a very common bat in Ireland.
Myotis or 'Vesper' Bats:
The members of this closely related group may be more numerous in Wales than in much of Britain.
Natterer's bat (Myotis nattereri)
Whiskered bat (Myotis mystacinus)
Brandt's bat (Myotis brandtii)
Daubenton's bat (Myotis daubentonii) - may be less dependent on buildings than others.
Natterer's, Whiskered and Brandt's take some practice to tell apart. Daubenton's are much easier to identify as they have large feet - used to scoop insects off the surface of ponds and rivers.
A similar bat (though not strictly a Vesper Bat) is the Barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus) - a very rare tree-roosting bat, sometimes also found in older buildings such as barns. It has been recorded in North-West Wales, but no roosts have yet been found.
Their name comes from the horshoe shaped 'noseleaf' - a facial structure used to shape echolocation ultrasound - which they emit through their noses (unlike the other bats listed here which use their mouths)
Greater horseshoe (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) - rare with only a few known roosts recorded in North Wales.
Lesser horseshoe (Rhinolophus hipposideros) - A rare species for the UK that has a stronghold in Wales with core populations in North-West Wales.
(Pictures from Wikipedia Commons - Credits Drahkrub, Fourrure, Mnolf, Gilles San Martin, Lylambda)
Gwynedd Bat Group is a Registered Charity No. 1074706