Natterer's bat (Myotis nattereri)
Size Wingspan: 245 - 300 mm
Body length: 40 - 50 mm
Weight 7 - 12 g
European populations are listed under Appendix II of The Bonn Convention, Appendix II of the Bern Convention, and Annex IV of the EC Habitats Directive. In the UK it is protected under Schedules 5 and 6 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and Schedule 2 of the Conservation Regulations 1994.
This medium sized bat has a grey-brown back and whitish fur to the underside, a pinkish face and quite large ears that are pink at the base and browner at the tips, with a long narrow tragus. A characteristic feature of this species is the row of stiff hairs along the edge of the tail membrane
Widespread in much of Europe, Natterer's bat is found throughout most of the British Isles north to the Great Glen Fault in Scotland, but is scarce throughout most of this range.
Found in woodland and pasture, Natterer's bat roosts in old stone buildings in the summer. They hibernate in winter and mainly use underground sites such as caves and mines for this purpose. They feed in open woodland, along hedgerows and waterside vegetation and in parkland.
Prey items include moths, flies and spiders. The species has great manoeuvrability at low speeds and tends to fly at heights below 5 meters. It seems to use a combination of hunting styles, including gleaning by landing and taking prey in flight from or close to surfaces. Mating tends to occur in late summer and autumn, when large swarms form at underground sites. Mixed-sex maternity colonies form between May and September; up to 25% of the bats in a nursery roost may be male. Towards the end of June a single young is produced which is fed on milk for around six weeks after birth, and left in a 'creche' as the mother goes out to hunt. Young bats may fly three weeks after birth and will be weaned and independent after six.
The reasons for the decline of this species include the loss and degradation of suitable habitat resulting from a number of factors including inappropriate management and pesticide use, which may decrease prey availability. Many bats are particularly susceptible to disturbance; destruction and/ or disturbance of summer and winter roosts is likely to have contributed to the decline.
The Natterer's bat has not been given priority status under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. There has therefore been little co-ordinated monitoring and conservation work targeted at this species, but the National Bat Monitoring Programme does count Natterer's colonies. Suggested measures that should be taken include population monitoring and mapping, with careful monitoring of barn conversions, research into the detailed habitat requirements of this species in order to inform management, promotion of woodland restoration and creation providing connectivity between sites, and protection of important swarming and hibernation sites. Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 it is an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take a bat, or to damage, destroy or obstruct access to roosts.
Find out more
To find out more about the conservation of this and other British bats see:
The Bat Conservation Trust:
The Vincent Wildlife Trust: