There are 17 bat species in Britain
and all are nocturnal (active at night) and are insect eaters. They hibernate
during the winter, when temperatures drop and there aren't many insects about,
and become active in April and May. During hibernation their body temperature
and heart rate drops although they can wake up and feed on very mild days.
Bats are social animals and often roost together in trees, buildings, caves and
tunnels. In June and July female bats gather together in maternity roosts, which
can contain several hundred individuals, and give birth to a single baby. Mating
takes place in the early autumn - the females store the male's sperm internally
and fertilisation takes place in spring.
During the latter half of the twentieth century bat numbers declined across
Britain largely due to habitat loss, changes in farming practices, the loss of
hedgerows and the decline in suitable roost sites. All British bats are
protected by law and many, like the
feature on Biological Action Plans.
Use the links below to find out more about British bats that are not found in