This recently deceased brown long eared bat (no points for guessing how it got it's name) was found recently at Lyme and was brought up to the ranger's office for us to inspect and admire.
The phenomenally large ears are not just for show; they help the bat to hear it's prey of beetles, flies, moths, earwigs and spiders. Like all bats, brown long-eared bats hunt through echo-location. In other words, the bats emit noises at high frequencies which strike the landscape around them. They can process this information to build up a sonic map of their surroundings. In this way, they can fly without colliding into objects, and can hunt extremely effectively.
The frequency and volume of the noise that the brown long-eared bat emits has earned it the nickname of the whispering bat. It's habit of flying close to the ground to hunt, and grappling with prey on the floor, has meant this species is particularly prone to being predated by nocturnal animals, including domestic cats.
Brown long eared bat - FACTFILE
- As well as catching insects in free flight, brown long-eared bats are "gleaners", often flying slowly through foliage to pick insects off leaves.
- Like all bat species in the UK, the brown long eared bat is legally protected, both by domestic and international legislation.
- There are an estimated 155,000 brown long eared bats in England.
- There are two species of long eared bat in the UK, brown long-eared and grey long-eared. Brown long-eareds are much more common; with greys confined to southern England.
- The ears are nearly as long as the body but are not always obvious: when at rest long-eared bats curl their ears back like rams’ horns, making them less conspicuous.
- Brown long eared bats are declining in the UK due to the removal of trees and woodland, which has resulted in the loss of suitable feeding habitats and hollow trees for roosting
For more information on bats, visit the Bat Conservation Trust website: http://www.bats.org.uk/index.php