Bats in Leicestershire and Rutland

Introduction

There are 18 different bat species living in the UK, 13 of which can be found in Leicestershire and Rutland. Our smallest bat is the pipistrelle weighing between 4 - 7g and with a wing span of 18 - 25cm while our largest is the noctule, which can weigh up to 40g and has a wingspan of between 33 - 45cm.

Pipistrelle, Copyright Amy Lewis pip

All UK bats eat insects. Each species has its favourites - including midges, moths and beetles - hunting them in their own special way. Most prey are caught and eaten in mid-air, though sometimes bats hang up to eat larger insects or spiders. A common pipistrelle can eat over 3,000 tiny insects in a single night!

Bats do not make nests, but choose various places throughout the year to roost, often with other bats. Some prefer hollow trees, others caves, and some use both at different times. Many shelter in buildings, in roof spaces or in bat boxes.

The Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust manage 32 nature reserves which contain a wide variety of habitats – meadows, woodlands, wetlands and heathlands.

These are ideal for bats as they provide the insects they need to feed and trees to roost in. However, not all the nature reserves have lots of mature trees with the crevices that bats needs to roost in so we put up bat boxes in order to provide them suitable roost sites.

Sadly, our UK bat populations have declined dramatically during the past century. Many of the roosting sites and feeding grounds that bats need have been destroyed to make way for buildings and roads, or other changes in land use.

See what bat work we do on our nature reserves.