Quick facts

Common name: serotine bat

Scientific name: Eptesicus serotinus

Family: Vespertilionidae

Habitat: woodland, hedgerows, parkland, pastures

Diet: flies, moths, beetles

Predators: birds of prey

Origin: native

What do serotine bats look like?

One of the largest bats in Britain, serotine bats measure 6-8cm in length and weigh between 15-35g. They have dark brown fur and a dark brown or black face, wings and ears. The fur is a paler yellow-brown on the underside and the ears are large and pointed. Juveniles have darker fur than adults.

What do serotine bats eat?

Flies, moths and beetles – particularly chafers and dung beetles – make up the serotine bat’s diet. It is capable of both catching insects in flight and plucking them from the ground or on vegetation. Serotines are also known to feed near lamp posts, where moths have been attracted to the light.

How do serotine bats breed?

The breeding season for serotine bats is during the autumn. Females will then begin to form maternity colonies in old buildings and churches the following May. A single pup is usually born in July and is carried by the mother for its first few days of life. It will be independent at roughly six weeks of age.

Credit: Marcos Veiga / Alamy Stock Photo

Hibernation

Serotine bats hibernate during the winter, taking shelter in old buildings. They have been discovered sleeping in disused chimneys and inside walls.

Where do serotine bats live?

These bats live in open woodland, hedgerows, parkland, pastures and can also be found around towns and villages. They only occur in the southern half of the UK, although their range appears to be expanding.

Did you know?

Serotine bats tend to emerge earlier in the evening than most of our other bat species.

Signs and spotting tips

Visit woodland just before dusk for your best chance of spotting the serotine bat. Listen out for the squeaky calls they make before they emerge to hunt.

Threats and conservation

The population status of serotine bats is currently unknown. However, the species is vulnerable to a number of threats that affect bats in general. These include a loss of suitable roosting and hibernation sites and a decline in their insect prey.

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