Grey long-eared bat

Grey long-eared bat

Scientific name: Plecotus austriacus
The grey long-eared bat certainly lives up to its name - its ears are nearly as long as its body! It mainly forages over grassland and meadows, but is very rare in the UK.

Species information


Length: 4.1-5.8cm
Wingspan: 25-30cm

Weight: 7-12g

Average lifespan: 5-9 years

Conservation status

Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. European Protected Species under Annex IV of the European Habitats Directive.

When to see

April to October


The grey long-eared bat is a southern European species and, consequently, is very rare in the UK which is at the northern edge of its range. It emerges from its roost in the dark, after the sun has set, to forage on moths, flies and small beetles, using echolocation to locate its prey.

It forages over grasslands, woodland edges and large gardens. During summer, mixed-sex maternity colonies are formed, and the females have their pups. Grey long-eared bats hibernate over the winter in caves, disused mines and cellars.

How to identify

The grey long-eared bat is a medium-sized bat, with grey fur and big ears that are almost as long as its body. Its face is darker than that of the similar-looking brown long-eared bat.


A very rare bat which is only found in particular areas in southern England.

Did you know?

While at rest, the grey long-eared bat tends to either curl its ears back or tuck them under its wings.