Brown long-eared bat

©Tom Marshall

Brown Long-eared Bat

Scientific name: Plecotus auritus
The Brown Long-eared Bat certainly lives up to its name - its ears are nearly as long as its body! Look out for it feeding along hedgerows, and in gardens and woodland.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 3.7-5.2cm
Wingspan: 20-30cm
Weight: 6-12g
Average lifespan: 4-5 years

Conservation status

Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework. European Protected Species under Annex IV of the European Habitats Directive.

When to see

April to October

About

The Brown Long-eared Bat is a medium-sized bat with very big ears. All UK bats are nocturnal, feeding on midges, moths and other flying insects that they find in the dark by using echolocation. As well as hunting airborne insects, Brown Long-eared Bats also fly slowly through foliage, picking insects directly from leaves; they eat large prey on perches, rather than in flight. Brown Long-eared Bats roost in holes in trees and old buildings, and feed along hedgerows, and in parks, gardens and woodland. During the summer, females form maternity colonies and have just a single pup. They hibernate over winter, between November and April.

How to identify

The Brown Long-eared Bat has greyish-brown fur and characteristically big ears, nearly as long as its body. It has a relatively slow, fluttery flight.

Distribution

Widespread, but absent from some Scottish Islands.

Did you know?

The Brown Long-eared Bat is known as the 'Whispering Bat', because its voice is very quiet - no need to shout when you have such big ears! While at rest, it tends to either curl its ears back or tuck them under its wings.

How people can help

Whether you live in town or country, you can help to look after garden wildlife by providing food, water and shelter. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started. To buy bird and animal food, feeders and homes, such as bat boxes, visit the Vine House Farm website - an award-winning wildlife-friendly farm which gives 5% of all its takings to The Wildlife Trusts.