Our guide to the UK's bats

Daubenton's bat (Myotis daubentonii)

The places we look after are home to every species of bat that lives in the UK. Here's our guide to help you identify them.

Alcathoe's bat

This bat is similar to the whiskered and Brandt's bats, which it may have been confused with in the past. Since 2009 it has been recorded in Yorkshire and the south of England.

Wingspan: 20cm
Body length: 40mm

Barbastelle

Barbastelle bat (Barbastella barbastellus)
Barbastelle bat (Barbastella barbastellus)

This is a rare bat, found in ancient woodland in the south of the UK. With the ears joined at the base and a pug nose, it’s so ugly, it’s almost pretty!

Wingspan: 27cm
Body length: 45mm

Bechstein’s bat

Bechstein's bat (Myotis bechsteinii)
Bechstein's bat (Myotis bechsteinii)

This is a rare bat, restricted to ancient woodlands in the south of England. It has the longest ears of any European bat after the long-eared bat, measuring about 25mm.

Wingspan: 28cm
Body length: 45mm

Brown long-eared bat

A brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus) emerges from its roost in a log
Brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus) emerging from log roost

This is a woodland bat that has ears about 28mm long, which navigate them to food including the tiniest of insects.

Wingspan: 25cm
Body length: 45mm

Daubenton’s bat

Also known as the 'water bat', it often roosts in trees. Its large feet distinguish it from other bats.

Wingspan: 25cm
Body length: 45mm

Greater mouse-eared bat

This is Britain's biggest bat. There is only one site where it is known to reside, near the south coast.

Wingspan: 40cm
Body length: 70mm

Grey long-eared bat

Grey long-eared bat
Grey long-eared bat

This bat is restricted to England, south of the Thames. It differs from the more common brown long-eared bat as it has darker fur.

Wingspan: 25cm
Body length: 45mm

Horseshoe bats

A Greater Horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) hibernates in a cave
Greater Horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) hibernating in cave

Restricted to the south west of England and Wales, both lesser and greater horseshoes have declined in number. In summer they roost in roof spaces. In winter, they use underground sites such as caves.

Greater horseshoe
Wingspan:
34cm
Body length: 64mm

Lesser horseshoe
Wingspan:
25cm
Body length: 40mm

Leisler’s bat

Take a closer look at a Leisler's bat (Nyctalus leisler)
Closeup of the head of a Leisler's bat (Nyctalus leisler)

Common in Ireland, this high-flying bat roosts in buildings and trees.
Wingspan: 30cm
Body length: 64mm

Natterer’s bat

A Natterer's bat looks out from its roost amidst stonework
193638 Natterer's bat (Myotis natteren) in stonework roost

This is a parkland and woodland species that often roosts in tree hollows, barns and roofs. It's distinguished by its white belly.

Wingspan: 28cm
Body length: 45mm

Noctule

This tree-roosting species forages widely and is one of Britain's largest bats. It often emerges before dark in the summer to catch insects.

Wingspan: 36cm
Body length: 75mm

Pipistrelle

A common pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) flies overhead
Common pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) in flight over silver birch branch

There are three species of Britain's smallest bat. They often roost in modern houses, but are found roosting and foraging everywhere. Our most common bat species, pipistrelles live in colonies of 1,000 or more.

Wingspan: 22cm
Body length: 35mm

Serotine

Serotine bat flying at night
Serotine bat flying at night

Restricted to the southern half of England and south Wales, this bat roosts in houses, foraging over pasture and gardens. It returns to the same roost year after year.

Wingspan: 36cm
Body length: 64mm

Whiskered and Brandt’s bat

A Whiskered bat with folded wings
193646 Whiskered bat (Myotis mystacinus)

Often found in woodland and on the waterside, these two species are remarkably alike. Whiskered bats (above) have more fur around their eyes and muzzle than other bats.

Wingspan: 24cm
Body length: 40mm