Quick facts

Common name: Leisler's bat, lesser noctule bat

Scientific name: Nyctalus leisleri

Family: Vespertilionidae

Habitat: woodland, farmland

Diet: flies, moths, beetles

Predators: kestrels, long-eared owls

Origin: non-native

What do Leisler’s bats look like?

Leisler’s bats measure around 5-7cm in length and have long golden-brown hair, which is thicker over their shoulders, giving them a lion’s mane appearance. They have a brown face and rounded ears with a mushroom-shaped tragus.

Not to be confused with: noctule bats, which are slightly bigger and have shorter fur.

Leisler's bat flying low over water using echolocation

Credit: Eric Medard / naturepl.com

What do Leisler's bats eat?

This species enjoys a diet of flies, caddisflies, moths and beetles. It emerges just before sunset to hunt, using its speedy flight to catch its prey with ease.

Did you know?

This species was previously called the ‘hairy-armed bat’ because of the thick fur on its forearm.

How do Leisler's bats breed?

These bats can be found in woodland, farmland and parks with plenty of trees. They occur throughout most of Britain but are absent from large parts of Scotland. The species is much more common in Ireland than mainland Britain.

Hibernation

Leisler’s bats hibernate during the winter. They spend the cooler months in tree hollows, caves and tunnels and cavities in buildings.

Where do Leisler's bats live?

These bats can be found in woodland, farmland and parks with plenty of trees. They occur throughout most of Britain but are absent from large parts of Scotland. The species is much more common in Ireland than mainland Britain.

Did you know?

Very occasionally its echolocation calls can be heard by the human ear.

Signs and spotting tips

Keep your eyes peeled for bats emerging to hunt at sunset. The mating call of the male is audible to humans.

Threats and conservation

These bats are widespread but scarce in Britain. They are one of the most common species in Ireland.  Leisler’s bats often use trees for roosting, so may be threatened by a loss of woodland and mature trees.

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