|The Lesser Horseshoe bat (its Latin name is
is a type of European bat the size of a plum and is related to but
much smaller than its cousin, the
greater horseshoe bat, which is the size of a pear. The lesser
horseshoe bat is weighing only 5 to 9 grams, with a wingspan of
192–254 mm and a body length of 35–45 mm. It has strong feet that it
uses to grasp rocks and branches, and can see well in spite of its
The species gets its name from its distinctive
horseshoe-shaped nose which is related to its particular type of
When roosting it hangs free with the wings more or less enfolding
It eats a variety of small insects including flies (mainly
midges), small moths, caddis flies, lace wings and beetles.
The population estimate for this species is
considered to be of moderate accuracy.
The lesser horseshoe bat is rare in the British Isles and is
confined to Wales, western England and western Ireland.
According to the Henry Schofield, pers. comm. - BCT in
2008, there were 50,000 lesser horseshoe bats in the UK. Mathew &
Halliwell in the same year estimated their population in Wales to be
Greater horseshoe bats
Factsheet from BCT.
All following images are from
Gareth Jones' 2014 birding site:
Gareth Jones works at the University of
Bristol as a Professor in the School of Biological Sciences. He
teaches mammal diversity, evolution, bat biology and bioacoustics.
His research is on the ecology, conservation and evolutionary
biology of bats.
Like most bats, lesser
horseshoe bats live in colonies and hunt their prey by
ultrasound from specialized round pads in
How do bats get around at
night, how do they avoid obstacles? How do they fly in the inky
blackness inside caves, and how do they find food in the night sky?
They use a mysterious sense
not possessed by humans, a form of biological sonar, sometimes
called "echolocation" or "biosonar". Dolphins and toothed whales
(e.g. killer whales) also possess biosonar, as do some species of
cave-dwelling birds, and possibly some species of shrews and seals.
Don't be misled. Read all
Lesser horseshoe bats have a constant-frequency (CF)
component to their calls. Male bats have a lower frequency CF
component than females. Bats less than a year old have a lower
frequency CF component than older bats (Jones et al.,