Horseshoe Bat Facts | Wildlife & Flora in the Cotswolds
Both species are nocturnal and feed utilizing echolocation to find beetles and moths, with the lesser horseshoe bat also showing a proclivity for gnats. They display the same social behavior, with females grouping together to form maternity colonies at the end of April, with the males and juveniles located nearby but separate. Mating takes place prior to hibernation in the fall, with births beginning in June and lasting through to the end of July. The single young, which can weigh up to 33% of its mother’s body mass, grows rapidly and will be weaned at around 45 days old. At this time, the summer colonies begin to disperse as the bats aim to feed in preparation for hibernation.
The decline of these species from an estimated 300,000 at the beginning of the 20th century to a combined population of around 32,000 today is contributed to a loss of suitable roosting habitat. Today, roosting habitat is fully protected under UK law, and both species are being closely monitored to help continue this recovery of these rare native species.