Leisler's bat

┬ęTom Marshall

Leisler's bat

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Scientific name: Nyctalus leisleri
The Leisler's bat flies fast and high near the treetops, but you might also spot it flying around lamp posts, looking for insects attracted to the light.

Top facts

Stats

Length: 5-7cm

Wingspan: 26-32cm

Weight: 12-20g

Average lifespan: up to 9 years

Conservation status

Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. European Protected Species under Annex IV of the European Habitats Directive.

When to see

March to October

About

The Leisler's bat forages for flies, moths, caddisflies and beetles, locating its prey using echolocation; sometimes, its calls can even be heard by the human ear - listen out for it just before it emerges from its roost at sunset. It roosts in holes in trees, as well as in buildings and bat boxes. During summer, the females form maternity colonies and usually have a single pup. During winter, Leisler's bats mainly hibernate in tree holes, but occasionally hibernate in buildings or underground.

What to look for

The Leisler's bat has golden-tipped or reddish-brown fur, which is darker at the base and longer over its shoulders and upper back, giving it a lion's mane appearance.

Where to find

Found throughout the country, except the north of Scotland. Quite common in Ireland, but rarer elsewhere.

Did you know?

Leisler's bats mate in autumn. The males emerge from their mating roosts at dusk, calling loudly as they slowly fly nearby. After a few minutes, they return to the roost, still calling, and wait for females to arrive. They will repeat this behaviour if they don't get any suitors the first time round!