Information

What British bat is this?


What kind of bat is this? I saw it flying quickly between trees in Buckinghamshire, UK, at about 4pm in September (so about three hours before sunset). I think it might be a common noctule but I was surprised to see that there are something like fourteen other British species to choose from.

Sorry the photo quality isn't amazing but it was hard to capture anything at all!


I would guess that it's a noctule (Nyctalus noctula) also. The Bat Conservation Trust has a nice UK section with fact sheets for the 18 different species of bats found there. It seems you can rule out the long eared bats by the photo and the pipistrelle because you didn't mention it flying eratically. The fact that it was out so early seems to narrow it down to either the noctule, which is usually the first to appear, or the leislers (Nyctalus leisleri) which appears shortly after the noctule. A distinguishing feature of the noctule is a mushroom shaped tragus, and for the leislers is long fur around the shoulder and back. Although this is a great photo, it's going to be hard to make a definitive determination without knowing size and some of the other finer details. Photos of the noctule and leislers can be found on the linked data sheets and the link to the UK section can help you determine if there are any other possible candidates I missed.


It is a Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus).

From Wikipedia:

The big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) is a widespread species of bat found throughout North America, Central America, the Caribbean, and extreme northern South America.

It is a relatively large microbat, weighing 15-26 g (0.53-0.92 oz).

Adult body length is 110-130 mm (4.3-5.1 in). Its forearm is usually longer than 48 mm (1.9 in). Its wingspan is 32.5-35 cm (12.8-13.8 in). Its dorsal fur is reddish brown and glossy in appearance; ventral fur is lighter brown. Its snout, uropatagium, and wing membranes are black and hairless. Its ears are also black; they are relatively short with rounded tips. The tragi also have rounded tips. Its dental formula is 2.1.1.3 3.1.2.3 , for a total of 32 teeth.

One study of a population in Colorado found that their average life expectancy was a little over 6.5 years; the oldest known big brown bat was 19 years of age (!) and documented in Canada.


British American Tobacco - BAT working on potential COVID-19 vaccine through US bio-tech subsidiary

BAT&rsquos US bio-tech subsidiary, Kentucky BioProcessing (KBP), is developing a potential vaccine for COVID-19 and is now in pre-clinical testing. If testing goes well, BAT is hopeful that, with the right partners and support from government agencies, between 1 and 3 million doses of the vaccine could be manufactured per week, beginning in June.

While KBP remains a commercial operation, the intention is that its work around the COVID-19 vaccine project will be carried out on a not for profit basis.

The vaccine in development uses BAT&rsquos proprietary, fast-growing tobacco plant technology which has several advantages over conventional vaccine production technology:

  • It is potentially safer given that tobacco plants can&rsquot host pathogens which cause human disease.
  • It is faster because the elements of the vaccine accumulate in tobacco plants much more quickly &ndash 6 weeks in tobacco plants versus several months using conventional methods.
  • The vaccine formulation KBP is developing remains stable at room temperature, unlike conventional vaccines which often require refrigeration.
  • It has the potential to deliver an effective immune response in a single dose.

BAT&rsquos US subsidiary, Reynolds American Inc, acquired KBP in 2014, with the aim of using some of its unique tobacco extraction technology to aid further development of its new category non-combustible products.

In 2014, KBP made headlines as one of the few companies with an effective treatment for Ebola, having manufactured ZMapp&trade with California-based company Mapp BioPharmaceuticals in partnership with the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

KBP recently cloned a portion of COVID-19&rsquos genetic sequence which led to the development of a potential antigen - a substance which induces an immune response in the body and in particular, the production of antibodies. This antigen was then inserted into tobacco plants for reproduction and, once the plants were harvested, the antigen was then purified, and is now undergoing pre-clinical testing.

BAT is now exploring partnerships with government agencies to bring its vaccine to clinical studies as soon as possible. Through collaborations with government and third-party manufacturers, BAT believes that between 1 and 3 million doses per week could be manufactured.

Dr David O&rsquoReilly, Director of Scientific Research, BAT said: &ldquoWe are engaged with the US Food and Drug Administration and are seeking guidance on next steps. We have also engaged with the UK&rsquos Department for Health and Social Care, and BARDA in the US, to offer our support and access to our research with the aim of trying to expedite the development of a vaccine for COVID-19.

&ldquoVaccine development is challenging and complex work, but we believe we have made a significant break-through with our tobacco plant technology platform and stand ready to work with Governments and all stakeholders to help win the war against COVID-19. We fully align with the United Nations plea, for a whole-of-society approach to combat global problems.

&ldquoKBP has been exploring alternative uses of the tobacco plant for some time. One such alternative use is the development of plant-based vaccines. We are committed to contributing to the global effort to halt the spread of COVID-19 using this technology.&rdquo

Tobacco plants being cultivated for vaccine development at our KBP facilities.

Notes to Editors:

Currently this is a potential vaccine candidate, not a vaccine or a cure, given this is early stages of the development process. BAT has unrivalled knowledge and expertise of tobacco and hopes its subsidiary KBP can contribute to the cause.

About BAT: BAT is a leading, multi-category consumer goods business, established in 1902. Our purpose is to build A Better Tomorrow by reducing the health impact of our business through offering a greater choice of enjoyable and less risky products for our consumers. Our ambition is to increasingly transition our revenues from cigarettes to non-combustible products over time.

About Kentucky Bioprocessing (KBP): BAT owned KBP is located in Owensboro, Ky., where it began operations in 2006. In January 2014, KBP was acquired by and became an independently operated, wholly-owned subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), owned by BAT. KBP continues to house its large, multilevel indoor plant-growth space, as well as its research and production laboratories, clean rooms and manufacturing operations in Owensboro.

KBP develops and executes processes to transform tobacco plants into &ldquobiomanufacturing factories&rdquo that efficiently produce complex proteins they would not otherwise produce. The company can grow, harvest and process as many as 3 million protein-producing tobacco plants in a production cycle that typically takes about six weeks &ndash compared with many months using traditional biomanufacturing methods.

The company uses licensed and proprietary technologies to temporarily encode tobacco plants with the genetic instructions to produce specific target proteins. The plants are grown in an automated, climate-controlled environment that can be adjusted to optimize their production of a protein of interest.

Forward looking statements

References to &lsquoBritish American Tobacco&rsquo, &lsquoBAT&rsquo, &lsquowe&rsquo, &lsquous&rsquo and &lsquoour&rsquo when denoting opinion refer to British American Tobacco p.l.c. (the Company, and together with its subsidiaries, the &ldquoGroup&rdquo).

This release contains certain forward-looking statements, including &ldquoforward-looking&rdquo statements made within the meaning of Section 21E of the United States Securities Exchange Act of 1934, regarding our intentions, beliefs or current expectations reflecting knowledge and information available at the time of preparation and concerning, amongst other things, prospects, growth, strategies and uncertainties related to regulatory approval and the results of pre-clinical testing. BAT undertakes no obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on such forward-looking statements.

These statements are often, but not always, made through the use of words or phrases such as &ldquoaim,&rdquo &ldquobelieve,&rdquo &ldquoexplore,&rdquo &ldquoanticipate,&rdquo &ldquocould,&rdquo &ldquomay,&rdquo &ldquowould,&rdquo &ldquoshould,&rdquo &ldquointend,&rdquo &ldquoplan,&rdquo &ldquopotential,&rdquo &ldquopredict,&rdquo &ldquowill,&rdquo &ldquoestimate,&rdquo &ldquostrategy&rdquo and similar expressions. It is believed that the expectations reflected in this release are reasonable but they may be affected by a wide range of variables that could cause actual results to differ materially from those currently anticipated, including uncertainties related to regulatory approval and the results of pre-clinical testing.

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Birth and Pups

Since bats live in very large colonies, it isn’t hard for them to find each other to mate. However, the males and the females typically stay segregated unless they are ready to mate. Once females are pregnant, a hundred or so of them may form a maternity colony that is a sub area of the larger colony.

The breeding season for the bat is in the spring when temperatures are warmer. This also seems to be the time of year when they can find the most food supplies. Even though they typically only have one breeding season, it is possible for a female bat to have one, two, or even three litters in that time frame. However, only one young will be born at a time.

It can be very difficult process for a mother bat to care for her young. She has to be able to continue flying for food while she is pregnant. The young bat will drink milk from the mother’s body. When the young are born they don’t have fully developed wings. Once they do develop they will be able to start looking for their own food. Once their wings are properly developed, it isn’t long before they venture out on their own.

The breeding season for the bat is in the spring when temperatures are warmer.

While the females do take time to properly care for their offspring, they don’t get much time with them at all. Depending on the species of bat, they can be fully independent anytime from six weeks of age to four months of age. This is why so many species of bats are able to successfully reproduce several times in a given season.

While the young are being cared for, they typically hang from the furry belly area of their mother. That is where they sleep and where they eat. It also allows them to have some warmth from her body. It is common for many of these mothers and young to huddle up to keep all of them warm enough.

Many experts are fascinated with the bat reproduction process. The female is very intelligent when it comes to manipulating the time for her pregnancy and the birth of the young. This typically is going to happen when the highest levels of food is offered. It is also going to occur during the period of time when the other environmental factors are best.

Since those factors can be different in various environments where bats live, observing such behaviors is quite interesting. Such control helps to give the young bats the highest possible chances of ultimately surviving to become mature. In order to obtain such control, it is possible for the female to delay the fertilization process of her eggs.

The bat is considered to be one of the slowest reproducing animals in the world.

With that in mind, it is possible for the actual mating process to take place in the fall. However, the female won’t release the sperm to meet with the eggs until some time in the spring. For other species though the mating and the sperm going to the eggs all occurs at the same time frame.

In spite of all of this though the bat is considered to be one of the slowest reproducing animals in the world. That is why there are huge concerns when large numbers of them are killed due to humans destroying their habitat. There are also large numbers of them being wiped out due to white nose syndrome which is a type of fungus.

Under the right conditions, a bat can live approximately 20 years in the wild. Some species seem to have longer life spans than others.


What British bat is this? - Biology

Bats are in serious decline nearly everywhere. Worldwide, there are almost a thousand different kinds of bats which comprise nearly 1/4 of all mammal species. Of the 43 species living in the U.S. and Canada, nearly 40 percent are endangered or are candidates for such status. The biology and ecology of bats is not well understood. Their nocturnal behavior, inaccesible breeding and roosting sites, and migratory behavior have made them difficult to study. As a result, we know little of bat ecology or management needs on public lands. Despite a lack of knowledge, we do know that bats often use trees, cliffs, caves, human dwellings, natural waters and water developments, bridges and mine shafts in a variety of habitats. There are clearly opportunities to begin specific management actions to protect or enhance this diverse and threatened group of mammals.

One method that the Forest Service is using to protect critical bat habitats is the installation of iron grates over abandoned mine entrances. These "bat-gates" serve two primary purposes: they protect the public from stumbling into a mine that might be dangerous, as well as protecting habitat allowing passage for bats. In the past, many abandoned mines have been filled in with earth, often a costly proposition that is deadly for bats. Maintaining the mine for bats provides a win-win situation that is both simple and cost-effective. With approximately 25,000 abandoned mines on Forest Service lands and an estimated 200,000 across the U.S., there is great potential to make a significant positive impact on bat populations through this method of protection.

Spot Light

�ttle for Bats’ film Availabe on YouTube

�ttle for Bats: Surviving White-Nose Syndrome” is available on YouTube. The film was produced through a partnership between the Forest Service, Ravenswood Media Inc., and the National White-Nose Syndrome Communications and Outreach Working Group.

    : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dS18bBQAFd8 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAk1tEyQXmI : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QiWPrf9cjE&feature=youtu.be

Bat Conservation International and USDA Forest Service Sign MOU
Dr. Merlin Tuttle, President/Founder Bat Conservation International, Inc. and Deputy Chief Joel Holtrop recently signed a new Service-Wide Memorandum of Understanding (MOU, enclosure). This MOU recognizes our longstanding partnership and mutual interest in the conservation and management of bats, their habitat and associated ecosystems, and our common desire to expand our cooperative work.

Bat Conservation International’s (BCI) mission is to protect and restore bats and their habitats worldwide by helping people understand and value bats as essential components of ecosystems. BCI advocates protecting critical bat habitats, advancing scientific knowledge about bats and their conservation needs, and facilitating management approaches that help both bats and people.

The Forest Service has a proven track record of working in collaboration with BCI, focusing especially on helping employees to understand and value bats as essential allies in managing habitats, and advancing scientific knowledge about bats, conservation needs, and ecosystems through continuing education, training, and cooperative research. By managing for bats and their habitats, the Forest Service contributes to conservation of the nation’s biodiversity, creating a healthier environment for both wildlife and people.

Investing in partnerships takes time, effort and energy—but it is worth it, and is in the Forest Service’s and the public’s interest. Partnerships such as these allow the Forest Service to effectively do more of the important conservation work that benefits the public’s resources.

Thanks to all who contributed to preparation and review of this MOU!

Abandoned Mines - Bat Barracks

Abandoned mines have become key year-round resources for bats. Mines seem to be most important for rearing young in summer, for hibernating in winter, and for use as temporary rest stops during migration. Throughout the United States, human disturbance of caves, cave commercialization, deforestation, and urban and agricultural development have forced many bats from their traditional roosts in search of new homes. Old mines are often the only suitable temperature-controlled shelters left midway between a bat's summer and winter roosts without these protected resting places, many species' migratory mortality could greatly increase. Over the past 100 years or more, displaced bats have gradually moved into many mines. In more than 6,000 mines surveyed by researchers in Arizona, California, Colorado, and New Mexico, 30 percent to 70 percent in each state showed signs of use by bats. An average of 10 percent contained important colonies. From the Great Lakes Region eastward in the U.S., up to 70 percent of subsurface mines may be used by large bat populations. Bats, due to their colonial nature, are especially vulnerable during hibernation both to vandals, and to rapid mine closures. The largest recorded hibernating population of western big-eared bats was recently destroyed in a New Mexico mine shaft where vandals had set old timber on fire. In New Jersey, the state's largest population of hibernating bats was inadvertently trapped in the Hibernia Mine when it was capped. Had state biologists not convinced state authorities to reopen the entrance immediately, these bats would have perished. Likewise, the Canoe Creek State Park limestone mine in Pennsylvania was reopened in the nick of time to save its bats and now shelters the largest bat hibernating population in the state. Clearly, the difference that protecting and stabilizing just one mine shaft can make is tremendous.

Bats Are A Big Deal

Bats are a primary predator of vast numbers of insect pests that cost farmers and foresters billions of dollars annually. Bats also pollinate flowers and disperse the seeds that make the rain forests grow and the deserts bloom. Wherever bats are found, they are critical elements in nature's delicate web of life.

How YOU can help bats

  • Contact your State Department of Natural Resources about area mines and bat gaiting.
  • Join Bat Conservation International or Organization for Bat Conservation.
  • Ask your local Forest Service office about volunteer opportunities. Interactive map of the Forest Service.
  • Build or buy a bat house and put it up in your yard. Contact Bat Conservation International or Organization for Bat Conservation about optimal placement.
  • Help your neighbors learn about bats and their benificial role in nature.
  • Don't trap bats in your attic. Wait for the bats to leave at night to go feeding and then close up the holes in your attic. Contact Bat Conservation International or Organization for Bat Conservation for further information.
  • Read books about bats. Visit your public library or other bat web sites. at Bat Conservation International (see 'Membership & Support') or at Organization for Bat Conservation.

You can also find locations for viewing wildlife, plants and fish through our NatureWatch website.

Bat Biology

  • Arizona State University/Ask a Biologist: Echolocation
  • Bat Conservation Trust:Echolocation
  • Scientific American: How do bats echolocate and how are they adapted to this activity? [Run a 'bat' search at the Scientific American home page.]

Alain Van Ryckegham, a professor at the School of Natural Resources at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Lindsay, Ontario, Canada, offers this explanation: Bats are a fascinating group of animals. They are one of the few mammals that can use sound to navigate--a trick called echolocation. Of the some 900 species of bats, more than half rely on echolocation to detect obstacles in flight, find their way into roosts and forage for food.

Echolocation--the active use of sonar (Sound Navigation AndRanging) along with special morphological (physical features) and physiological adaptations--allows bats to "see" with sound. Most bats produce echolocation sounds by contracting their larynx (voice box). A few species, though, click their tongues. These sounds are generally emitted through the mouth, but Horseshoe bats (Rhinolophidae) and Old World leaf-nosed bats (Hipposideridae) emit their echolocation calls through their nostrils: there they have basal fleshy horseshoe or leaf-like structures that are well-adapted to function as megaphones.

Echolocation calls are usually ultrasonic--ranging in frequency from 20 to 200 kilohertz (kHz), whereas human hearing normally tops out at around 20 kHz. Even so, we can hear echolocation clicks from some bats, such as the Spotted bat (Euderma maculatum). These noises resemble the sounds made by hitting two round pebbles together. In general, echolocation calls are characterized by their frequency their intensity in decibels (dB) and their duration in milliseconds (ms). In terms of pitch, bats produce echolocation calls with both constant frequencies (CF calls) and varying frequencies that are frequently modulated (FM calls). Most bats produce a complicated sequence of calls, combining CF and FM components. Although low frequency sound travels further than high-frequency sound, calls at higher frequencies give the bats more detailed information--such as size, range, position, speed and direction of a prey's flight. Thus, these sounds are used more often.

In terms of loudness, bats emit calls as low as 50 dB and as high as 120 dB, which is louder than a smoke detector 10 centimeters from your ear. That's not just loud, but damaging to human hearing. The Little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) can emit such an intense sound. The good news is that because this call has an ultrasonic frequency, we are unable to hear it. The ears and brain cells in bats are especially tuned to the frequencies of the sounds they emit and the echoes that result. A concentration of receptor cells in their inner ear makes bats extremely sensitive to frequency changes: Some Horseshoe bats can detect differences as slight as .000l Khz. For bats to listen to the echoes of their original emissions and not be temporarily deafened by the intensity of their own calls, the middle ear muscle (called the stapedius) contracts to separate the three bones there--the malleus, incus and stapes, or hammer, anvil and stirrup--and reduce the hearing sensitivity. This contraction occurs about 6 ms before the larynx muscles (called the crycothyroid) begin to contract. The middle ear muscle relaxes 2 to 8 ms later. At this point, the ear is ready to receive the echo of an insect one meter away, which takes only 6 ms.

The external structure of bats' ears also plays an important role in receiving echoes. The large variation in sizes, shapes, folds and wrinkles are thought to aid in the reception and funneling of echoes and sounds emitted from prey. Echolocation is a highly technical and interesting tactic. To truly understand the concepts and complexity of this subject is to begin to understand the amazing nature of these animals.


Scientists discover new 'spectacular' bat from West Africa

A group of scientists led by the American Museum of Natural History and Bat Conservation International have discovered a new species of a striking orange and black bat in a mountain range in West Africa. The species, which the researchers expect is likely critically endangered, underscores the importance of sub-Saharan "sky islands" to bat diversity. The species is described today in the journal American Museum Novitates.

"In an age of extinction, a discovery like this offers a glimmer of hope," said Winifred Frick, chief scientist at Bat Conservation International and an associate research professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. "It's a spectacular animal. It has this bright-orange fur, and because it was so distinct, that led us to realize it was not described before. Discovering a new mammal is rare. It has been a dream of mine since I was a child."

In 2018, Frick and her colleagues at Bat Conservation International and the University of Maroua in Cameroon were in the Nimba Mountains in Guinea conducting field surveys in natural caves and mining tunnels, known as adits, that were built in the 1970s and 1980s and have since been colonized by bats. In collaboration with the local mining company, Société des Mines de Fer de Guinée (SMFG), the scientists are trying to understand which bat species use which adits and at what times of the year. Of particular interest is Lamotte's roundleaf bat, Hipposideros lamottei, which is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered and has only ever been recorded in the Nimba Mountains. Much of its known population lives in the adits, which are in different states of collapse and will disappear in time. While surveying for this bat, the researchers found something peculiar -- a bat that looked nothing like Lamotte's roundleaf bat and did not match the descriptions of any other species that they knew occurred in the area. Later that night, they called on American Museum of Natural History Curator Nancy Simmons, a bat expert and chair of the Museum's Department of Mammalogy, for help.

"As soon as I looked at it, I agreed that it was something new," said Simmons, the lead author of the paper and Bat Conservation International Board member. "Then began the long path of documentation and gathering all the data needed to show that it's indeed unlike any other known species."

Through morphological, mor¬phometric, echolocation, and genetic data, including comparative data from collections at the Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and the British Museum, the scientists described the new species, which they named Myotis nimbaensis ("from Nimba") in recognition of the mountain range in which it is found. A chain of "African sky islands," the Nimba Mountains have peaks rising between 1,600-1,750 meters (about 1 mile) above sea level and are surrounded by drastically different lowland habitats. As such, they are home to exceptional biodiversity, including bats.

"In addition to the Lamotte's roundleaf bat, it's possible Myotis nimbaensis could be the second bat species found only in this particular mountain range," said Jon Flanders, Bat Conservation International's director of endangered species interventions.

This study is part of an ongoing effort critical in helping the Nimba Mountain bats survive. Bat Conservation International and SMFG have already started working together to build new tunnels, reinforced to last for centuries and in habitat away from the mining project, for the Lamotte's roundleaf bat. And although little is known yet about the population and range of Myotis nimbaensis, efforts like this will likely help it as well.


What British bat is this? - Biology


Silver-haired Bat. Photo by Paul D. Pratt

No other group of mammals conjures up as much fear and mythology as bats. Next to the rodents, bats represent the second largest order of mammals, with 900-1100 species depending on which authority you adhere to. This diverse group is subdivided into two suborders: the Megachiroptera (Old World fruit bats) and the Microchiroptera (about 80% of species and found worldwide). Bats inhabit every continent except Antarctica and can be found in habitats ranging from forest to desert.

While they come in many sizes (up to 1 kg), the vast majority are small, weighing less than 50 g (think of 7 loonies in your hand), with the smallest from Thailand, appropriately called the bumblebee bat (2 g: about a penny). Bats are the only mammals capable of sustained, flapping flight. A few others, such as flying squirrels, can glide but only bats can truly fly. Their wings are modified forelimbs and consist of a double-layered membrane of skin stretched over the arm, and greatly elongated hand and finger bones. There is also a flight membrane stretched between the hind legs and tail. The rear legs are small, with five clawed toes on each foot. While the flight membranes have little or no fur, the rest of their bodies are typically well furred. Most species which occur in North America have relatively large ears and small eyes although there is considerable variation. There are 19 species of commonly found in Canada, 16 of which occur in B.C. There are 41 species that occur in the US. As for most animals, the diversity is greatest the closer one gets to the tropics

Bats are crepuscular (active at dusk and/or dawn), nocturnal or a combination of both and they occupy a variety of ecological niches. All bats found in North American are able to navigate in complete darkness in essence using sound to &ldquosee.&rdquo This orientation system is termed echolocation and involves the production by the larynx of typically short (5-20 milliseconds) intense ultrasonic sounds. Ultrasonic means simply that the sounds are above the range of typical human hearing, although the spotted bat echolocates using frequencies that most humans are able to hear. Most calls are frequency modulated, which means that as the call proceeds, the frequency sweeps downwards (like moving right to left on a piano keyboard). For most Canadian bats the range of frequencies used is between 120 and 20 kilohertz (a kilohertz equals 1000 cycles per second).

Echoes result when these sounds bounce off objects and potential prey. These echoes provide the bat with information about an object&rsquos size, shape and distance. The lower the frequency of echolocation call, the farther sound (and thus echoes) carry and thus the greater the distance that the bat can detect objects. The downside to lower frequency calls is that it makes detecting small objects (insects) more difficult. Echolocation calls are also used for communication and some bats eavesdrop on other bats to locate concentrations of insects or potential roosting sites. Besides ultrasonic calls, many bats make an assortment of audible clicks and chirps used for behavioural interactions, such as between a mother and her young. Contrary to popular mythology, there are no blind bats and eyesight is likely more important to many bats than once thought. It is unlikely that bats are able to detect echoes from their calls at distances greater than 20 m, so vision may be important for long distance movements and migration.

Bats hang upside down to roost (rest). They have sharp claws on the toes of their hind feet, useful for gripping. When at rest, bats usually fold their wings against the sides of their bodies although Megachiropterans enfold their body in the wings.

Bats in temperate areas have two strategies to cope with winter when it is cold and insects to eat are unavailable. Some bats, such as the red, hoary and probably the silver-haired, migrate south like birds to warmer areas where they may remain active or hibernate (in most cases we just don&rsquot know!). Other species hibernate rather than migrate. Living off stored fat, they hibernate in sheltered spots, including caves, abandoned mines or deep rock crevices. We know the locations of only a few hibernation sites in western Canada.

All bats found in Canada eat arthropods only and their diet consists principally of insects. They typically consume large numbers of &ldquobugs&rdquo. Nursing females probably eat their own body mass in food each night during the summer. Most bats capture flying insects which they detect using echolocation. Due to their high energy requirements, bats have evolved means of capturing and processing large numbers of insects rapidly. Many species are able to rapidly exploit ephemeral concentrations of food. They can chew rapidly, up to 7 times per second. The big brown bat has been recorded to attack an insect every three seconds during some feeding bouts. This is impressive when one considers that in that time, the bat must chew a captured insect and both detect and manoeuvre in the air to attack the next one.

Although bats eat a wide variety of insects, different species tend to eat different types. Little brown bats mainly eat small, soft-bodied insects such as midges, caddisflies and moths which they often catch over calm bodies of water. Hoary and big brown bats are larger, stronger fliers with more powerful jaws and lower frequency echolocation calls meaning that they are able to detect and eat larger, harder-bodied prey, such as beetles. Both hoary and big brown bats tend to forage above fields, trees, water and other open spaces. They tend to eat moths, beetles, termites, caddisflies, lacewings, carpenter ants and midges.

The little brown bat is likely the most common species in Canada. It ranges from the southern border with the US to tree-line right across the country and is found in various habitats: dry grasslands, forests and even cities. However, water is never far away. Females typically roost in groups, often called maternity colonies, to bear and raise their pups. Roosts occur in tree cavities, under bark, in attics, under shingles, behind shutters and in rock crevices. Males are likely more solitary, but frankly we know little about what they do in the summer. In the winter, little brown bats hibernate in caves, abandoned mines or in deep crevices in rocks. They sometimes travel hundreds of kilometres to a suitable hibernation site, often returning there year after year.

Most small mammals produce large litters at an early age and are short-lived. Bats are different: they tend to have few young and live to a ripe old age. Little brown bats have been recorded to live for more than 30 years in the wild. Most bats in Canada give birth to only one young per year, although twins are also known. Red bats are the exception. Females of this species give birth to as many as four young per litter. For little brown bats, about whom we know the most, mating takes place through the fall and even winter at the hibernation site. After mating, females nourish live sperm within their bodies and do not actually become pregnant until leaving the hibernacula in spring. Gestation is 7-10 weeks. Young are large when born, often representing 25-30% of their mothers mass. Parental care is solely the responsibility of the females who suckle the young like all mammals. Males are not even present in the maternity colony. Pups usually can fly and forage for at least some of their own food by the time they are approximately one month old. They must learn to forage and fatten to survive the first winter, typically the period of highest mortality for bats.

The hoary bat which has almost as extensive a range as the little brown represents the other end of the continuum of life history strategies. Sometimes called tree bats because they roost near the ends of branches, they are rarely seen except during migration. In May and June, hoary bats migrate north like many birds, usually to forested regions. Females don&rsquot roost in groups, but by themselves until giving birth to their pups. Between August and October, hoary bats migrate south likely to hibernate, but we are unsure.

Bats help control insect populations. Insectivorous bats are one of the main predators of nocturnal flying insects.

Although a female bat can produce many offspring over her lifetime, most species give birth to only one young per year. Consequently, if many bats die or are killed within a short time frame, the population may not recover for many years. Their modest birth rate can leave bat populations susceptible to extirpation (local extinction). Bats have few non-human predators, though raccoons skunks, weasels, martens, cats, snakes, hawks and owls occasionally take a few. Humans pose the biggest danger to bat populations. Some people who fear bats will go out of their way to kill them. Because many bat species are colonial (live together in large groups), large numbers can easily be destroyed. Even people who do not mean to cause harm may do so accidentally. If hibernating bats are disturbed, they awaken. Arousal from hibernation consumes much energy, and increases the possibility that the bat&rsquos stored fat will be insufficient to keep it alive for the rest of the winter. Humans impact bats in other ways. Bats eat millions of insects over their long lives. If these insects have been treated with insecticides, toxic compounds can accumulate in the bat&rsquos fatty tissues. These toxins can harm or even cause death in high concentrations. Deforestation is another human activity that can affect bats. Logging reduces the availability of roosting places.

Many people are afraid of bats because of a perceived common association with rabies. This disease also affects many other mammals, including skunks, foxes, raccoons, dogs, cats, cows and pigs. Any infected mammal can pass on the disease by biting because the virus causing the disease occurs in saliva. Rabies is dangerous because it causes paralysis and death unless quickly treated. If you notice any animal acting strangely&mdashincluding a bat&mdashstay well away from it. The only means most animals have of defending themselves is by biting. Any bat lying on the ground should be treated with suspicion. Do not touch it and report it immediately. The good news is that if given promptly, post-exposure rabies vaccinations are virtually 100% effective.

Many species of bats are potentially at risk in Canada due to a variety of factors including limited distribution, habitat loss due to activities such as logging, environmental contaminants, direct extermination, and an emerging threat&ndash wind turbines. Unfortunately we have no long term data on population numbers so it is impossible to come to definitive conclusions about the status of species.

Read Mark's book, the Bats of British Columbia, for more information on this exciting group of animals.

Barclay, R.M.R., and R.M. Brigham (eds.). 1996. Bats and Forests Symposium, October 19-21, 1995, Victoria, BC, Canada. Working Paper 23. Research Branch, BC Ministry of Forests. Victoria.

Barclay, R.M.R., and R.M. Brigham. 2001. Year-to-year reuse of tree-roosts by California bats (Myotis californicus) in southern British Columbia. American Midland Naturalist 146:80&ndash85

Bogan, M.A., P.M. Cryan, E.W. Valdez, L.E. Ellison, and T.J. O&rsquoShea. 2003. Pp. 69-77 In Monitoring trends in bat populations of the United States and Territories: Problems and Prospects (T.J. O&rsquoShea and M.A. Bogan, eds.). U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Discipline, Information and Technology Report 2003-0003:1-274.

Brigham, R.M. 1991. Flexibility in foraging and roosting behaviour by the big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus). Canadian Journal of Zoology 69:117-121.

Brigham, R.M., M.J. Vonhof, R.M.R. Barclay, and J.C. Gwilliam. 1997. Roosting behavior and roost-site preferences of forest-dwelling California bats (Myotis californicus). Journal of Mammalogy 78:1231-1239.

Brigham, R.M., E.K.V. Kalko, G. Jones, S. Parsons, and H.J.G.A. Limpens (eds.). 2004. Bat echolocation research: tools, techniques and analysis. Bat Conservation International. Austin.

Fenton, M.B. 2003. Science and the conservation of bats: where to next? Wildlife Society Bulletin 31:6-15.

Grindal, S.D., and R.M. Brigham. 1999. Impacts of forest harvesting on habitat use by foraging insectivorous bats at different spatial scales. Ecoscience 6:25-34.

Hayes, J. P. 2003. Habitat ecology and conservation of bats in western coniferous forests. Pp. 81-119 in Mammal Community Dynamics in Coniferous Forests of Western North America: Management and Conservation (C.J. Zabel and R.G. Anthony, eds.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Humphries M.M., D.W. Thomas, and J.R. Speakman. 2002. Climate-mediated energetic constraints on the distribution of hibernating mammals. Nature 418:313-316.

Kalcounis, M.C., K.A. Hobson, R.M. Brigham, and K.R. Hecker. 1999. Bat activity in the boreal forest: importance of stand type and vertical strata. Journal of Mammalogy 80:673-682.

Kunz, T. H. and M. B. Fenton (eds). 2003. Bat Ecology. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.


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Latest updates

Seeking bat roosts and bat counters!

Spring is here and bats are returning to summer roost sites. One of our more familiar species in buildings and bat boxes is the Little Brown Myotis. Like all BC bats, the Little Brown Myotis is an essential part of our ecology, consuming many insect pests each night. Unfortunately, the. ➤

Information bulletin on bats in BC, COVID-19, and WNS

The BC Community Bat Program aims to share current, accurate information about bats in BC, and issues around bat and human health. Our program strives to educate people about bats and dispel misinformation that may lead to persecution of bats. We are not public health experts or virologists our information. ➤

BC BAT Action plan in response to the threat of white-nose syndrome

One of the key goals of the WNS Action Plan is to bring awareness to BC citizens and governments of the urgency and imminence of this disease, and the cascading ecological and economic ramifications that may follow if nothing is done to address this unprecedented wildlife crisis. While motivated by. ➤

Seeking bat roosts and bat counters!

Spring is here and bats are returning to summer roost sites. One of our more familiar species in buildings and bat boxes is the Little Brown Myotis. Like all BC. ➤

Information bulletin on bats in BC, COVID-19, and WNS

The BC Community Bat Program aims to share current, accurate information about bats in BC, and issues around bat and human health. Our program strives to educate people about bats. ➤


What British bat is this? - Biology

  • Dorsal fur is dark to chestnut brown. Ventral fur is paler.
  • Ears are short and triangular with a rounded tip.
  • The tragus is up to four times as long as it is broad.
  • The wing membranes are opaque.
  • The calcar is up to 1/3 of the length of the tail membrane and a post-calcarial lobe is present.
  • The penis is slightly bulbous.
  • Average weight (as given by Greenaway & Hutson, 1990) 4-8 g.

The diagram below gives important average body measurements for soprano pipistrelles (Greenaway & Hutson, 1990).

  • Mate from the spring through to autumn, but mainly in September and November.
  • Females may undergo torpor during pregnancy or lactation depending on feeding conditions.
  • A single offspring is born at the end of June or the beginning of July. Rarely twins are born.
  • Maximum age recorded in Europe is 12 years (Schober & Grimmberger, 1989).

  • The soprano pipistrelle prefers riparian habitats whereas the common pipistrelle uses a wide range of habitats (Vaughan et al., 1997).
  • Glendell and Vaughan (2002) found that soprano pipistrelles often chose habitats with semi-natural woodland or tree lines.
  • Tends to avoid open habitat such as farmland, moorland and grassland.
  • The photograph on the left shows a typical habitat of soprano pipistrelles.
  • Summer roosts: in cracks and crevices in new and old buildings, behind panelling, shutters and eaves. Also found in bat boxes and trees.
  • Winter roosts: trees, buildings. Exposed groups in crevices in walls and stonework. Rarely underground. Relatively insensitive to cold.
  • Soprano pipistrelle roosts in houses are often unwanted. Lourenco and Palmeirim (2004) investigated the possibility of providing Mediterranean populations of soprano pipistrelles with bat boxes of suitable temperatures as an alternative. Bats were found to prefer the warmest regions in roosts, unless they were 40°C or greater. Black boxes were found to be at the correct temperature more often than white or grey boxes. However, bats left black boxes if ambient temperatures were particularly high.
  • Females are found in nursery roosts of 25-50 individuals from April which they may share with Nathusius' pipistrelle.
  • Barlow and Jones (1999) found that soprano pipistrelle nursery roosts were significantly larger than common pipistrelle nursery roosts.
  • Males occupy territories year-round and defend them during the mating season when special social calls are emitted and the bats smell strongly of musk.
  • Mixed sex winter roosts are inhabited from mid-November to early March.

Emergence and Flight Pattern

  • Emerge around 20 minutes after sunset, earlier on warmer nights. May emerge in daylight.
  • Flight is erratic and agile.
  • Flies usually 5-10m above ground level (Russ, 1999).
  • Often follows the same flight path every night.
  • Foraging period changes with weather and reproductive state. Pregnant females forage once a night for a long period. Once the young are born females make two shorter foraging trips.
  • The diet of soprano pipistrelles mainly consists of Diptera, particularly Chironomidae (Vaughan, 1997). Diurnal Diptera are also eaten. Aquatic insects are an important part of the soprano pipistrelle's diet and so they often forage near fresh water habitats. Aerial hawking is probably the predominant foraging strategy used, although some prey may be gleaned.
  • Prey is caught and consumed during flight.

Marked in blue on the diagram above is a typical foraging path of soprano pipistrelles (based on Russ, 1999).

To listen to the call of the soprano pipistrelle click here

Size of sound file: 16.6 KB

Average values for a soprano pipistrelle echolocation call, as given by Vaughan et al. (1997), are listed below:

Interpulse interval: 81.0 ms

Minimum frequency: 54.1 kHz

Maximum frequency: 64.7 kHz

The power spectrum on the left shows that the maximum power of the call is at a frequency of approximately 55.5 kHz.

Kalko (1995) found four stages to the foraging behaviour of pipistrelles: search flight, approach flight, capture and retrieval of prey. Changes in the echolocation call were correlated with these changes in flight behaviour. There is a shallow-modulated component in the echolocation call during search phase which may enable better detection of prey. This shallow-modulated component is not found in the echolocation call during the approach phase. During the approach phase a steep frequency-modulated call is used to assess the distance to the prey item. In this phase the pulse interval and duration decrease as the target is approached. During the terminal phase steep frequency-modulated calls are used to locate the prey item precisely. Again, the pulse interval and duration decrease as the target is approached. The information contained in the call per unit time is increased through the use of a high call repetition rate. By altering the duration of the echolocation call, pipistrelles are able to avoid overlap between emitted signals and returning echos. Using a call with a duration of 6-10 ms, Kalko (1995) suggests that pipistrelles should be able to detect prey at a minimum distance of 1.12-1.70 m.

Kalko & Schnitzler (1993) studied search flight echolocation of Pipistrellus species. During the search phase echolocation type corresponded to habitat type. Where obstacles were greater than 5m away from the bat the call was less than 15 kHz in width. In cluttered habitats and when the bats were turning the call was more than 15 kHz in width. Prey was only detected when there was no overlap between the emitted call and the received echo.

The soprano pipistrelle emits two types of social calls a complex song-like call when at the mating roost and in the foraging habitat, and a cheep-like call during flight (Pfalzer & Kusch, 2003).

Click here to listen to the social call of the soprano pipistrelle.

Size of sound file: 35.9 KB

The social call of the soprano pipistrelle has three components. This can be used to distinguish the common from the common pipistrelle, which has a social call of four components (Barlow & Jones, 1997).


Scientists discover new 'spectacular' bat from West Africa

Myotis nimbaensis, shown here, is a new species of bat named for the mountain range in which it is found, the Nimba Mountains in West Africa. Credit: © Bat Conservation International

A group of scientists led by the American Museum of Natural History and Bat Conservation International have discovered a new species of a striking orange and black bat in a mountain range in West Africa. The species, which the researchers expect is likely critically endangered, underscores the importance of sub-Saharan "sky islands" to bat diversity. The species is described today in the journal American Museum Novitates.

"In an age of extinction, a discovery like this offers a glimmer of hope," said Winifred Frick, chief scientist at Bat Conservation International and an associate research professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. "It's a spectacular animal. It has this bright-orange fur, and because it was so distinct, that led us to realize it was not described before. Discovering a new mammal is rare. It has been a dream of mine since I was a child."

In 2018, Frick and her colleagues at Bat Conservation International and the University of Maroua in Cameroon were in the Nimba Mountains in Guinea conducting field surveys in natural caves and mining tunnels, known as adits, that were built in the 1970s and 1980s and have since been colonized by bats. In collaboration with the local mining company, Société des Mines de Fer de Guinée (SMFG), the scientists are trying to understand which bat species use which adits and at what times of the year. Of particular interest is Lamotte's roundleaf bat, Hipposideros lamottei, which is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered and has only ever been recorded in the Nimba Mountains.

This illustration shows Myotis nimbaensis, a new species of bat found in the Nimba Mountains of West Africa. Credit: Patricia Wynne

Much of its known population lives in the adits, which are in different states of collapse and will disappear in time. While surveying for this bat, the researchers found something peculiar—a bat that looked nothing like Lamotte's roundleaf bat and did not match the descriptions of any other species that they knew occurred in the area. Later that night, they called on American Museum of Natural History Curator Nancy Simmons, a bat expert and chair of the Museum's Department of Mammalogy, for help.

"As soon as I looked at it, I agreed that it was something new," said Simmons, the lead author of the paper and Bat Conservation International Board member. "Then began the long path of documentation and gathering all the data needed to show that it's indeed unlike any other known species."

Through morphological, mor¬phometric, echolocation, and genetic data, including comparative data from collections at the Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and the British Museum, the scientists described the new species, which they named Myotis nimbaensis ("from Nimba") in recognition of the mountain range in which it is found. A chain of "African sky islands," the Nimba Mountains have peaks rising between 1,600-1,750 meters (about 1 mile) above sea level and are surrounded by drastically different lowland habitats. As such, they are home to exceptional biodiversity, including bats.

A chain of "African sky islands," the Nimba Mountains in Guinea have peaks rising between 1,600-1,750 meters (about 1 mile) above sea level and are surrounded by drastically different lowland habitats. They are home to exceptional biodiversity, including bats. Credit: © Bat Conservation International

"In addition to the Lamotte's roundleaf bat, it's possible Myotis nimbaensis could be the second bat species found only in this particular mountain range," said Jon Flanders, Bat Conservation International's director of endangered species interventions.

This study is part of an ongoing effort critical in helping the Nimba Mountain bats survive. Bat Conservation International and SMFG have already started working together to build new tunnels, reinforced to last for centuries and in habitat away from the mining project, for the Lamotte's roundleaf bat. And although little is known yet about the population and range of Myotis nimbaensis, efforts like this will likely help it as well.


Watch the video: The common noctule, netopýr rezavý Nyctalus noctula (January 2022).