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Feature Creature - Pipistrelle Bat

Credits: Amy Lewis

Pipistrelle bats are one of the most common species of bat in the UK and can be found in most parts of the country.  They are a protected species so it is against the law to disturb their roosts or to harm them.

Pipistrelles are pretty small, in fact they are one of the smallest UK bats, measuring only 3.5cm to 4.5cm long.  They have a wingspan of 20cm to 24cm long and usually live for 4 to 5 years.  They are also very light, weighing only 4 – 9 grams – about the same as just one or two teaspoons of sugar!


If you go outside at dusk you might be able to recognise pipistrelle bats from their quick, jerky flight as they dash about catching insects.  They like to eat small flying insects (such as midges) and can eat up to 3,000 insects in one night.  You might even be lucky enough to hear them as they occasionally call out to each other with a call which is lower pitched than their usual higher pitched echolocation calls.  These lower pitched calls can sometimes be heard by children, but not usually by grown-ups.  Listen for a clicking / slapping type sound.


Fantastic facts:


  • Although they are sometimes thought of as frightening Halloween creatures, they are completely harmless to people. 
  • Bats are the only mammals that can fly! 


Visit the Pipistrelle bat species page


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