Leisler's bat

©Tom Marshall

Leisler's bat

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.

Species information

Statistics

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.

How to identify

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.

Distribution

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!

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts work closely with farmers and landowners to ensure that our wildlife is protected and to promote wildlife-friendly practices. By working together, we can create Living Landscapes: networks of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.