Whiskered Bat

Scientific Name: 

Myotis mystacinus

Description

The Whiskered bat has shaggy fur that can be a dark brown, greyish brown or light brown on its back and a dark or light grey on its underside. The nose, ears and wing membranes are all a blackish brown in colour. The Whiskered bat is very similar to the Brandt's bat in appearance but tends to generally be slightly darker. There are other differences known between the Brandt's and Whiskered bats, including the shape of the tragus, the teeth and the penis shape, which is club tipped in the Brandt's bat. The Whiskered bat has a relatively slow and fluttery flight pattern, although it will weave rapidly while hunting.

Weight: 

4-8g

Lifespan: 

Although the maximum recorded age was 24 years, it is generally believed that 19 years is their maximum life expectancy, although in reality the average life expectancy is probably closer to 4 or 5 years.

Distribution: 

The Whiskered bat has been recorded in England, Wales and Southern Scotland.

Habitat: 

Open Country and wooded areas including, gardens and parkland. The Whiskered bat will roost in provided bat boxes, lofts and behind external features of buildings during the summer period and between October and March they will hibernate in caves, cellars, mines and tunnels. The Whiskered bat will tend to hang in open areas during hibernation, whereas the Brandt's bat will tend to hide out of sight.

Reproduction: 

Mating occurs during autumn while in the hibernaculum and fertilisation is delayed until the following spring. Females start to form maternity roosts of between 20 and 50 bats around May and a single offspring, known as a pup, is born during June/July. The pup is capable of flight in about 3 weeks and will be independent at around 6 weeks of age.

Predators: 

All though not directly at threat from a predator, Whiskered bats are vulnerable to woodland decline and intensive agricultural practices, especially where pesticides are used. Disturbance of their winter hibernation sites is also considered a risk.

Status: 

Whiskered bats are not listed as Threatened. Fully protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) as amended, and by the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations (1994). An agreement on the Conservation of Bats in Europe (EUROBATS) under the auspices of the Bonn Convention, also known as the Convention on Migratory species (CMS) is in force, and all European bats are listed under Appendix II of the CMS.

Did You Know?: 

Up until 1970 the Whiskered bat and Brandt's bat were believed to be the same species. During the summer period male Whiskered bats tend to be solitary. The Whiskered bat is the smallest of the Myotis genus found in the UK.

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M. mystacinus

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