Ranging in size from the tiny Pipistrelle Bat (which is actually the most common species) weighing just 5g to the Noctule which can weigh up to 40g, Britain's Bat species are all vital to local eco-systems but are threatened throughout much of their natural range.
Bats are nocturnal animals that can often be hard to spot and use echolocation to find their food such as insects (of which they can consume over 3,000 in just one night). However, what do Bats get up to the rest of the time? Well, here is the year in the life a Bat:
Bats spend most of the winter hibernating meaning that they have a lower body temperature and breathe more slowly.
Although they are still hibernating, Bats have little fat left and may start to leave the roost on warmer nights in search of food.
As the weather warms the Bats begin to emerge from their winter roosts although may enter a torpid state again if it turns cold.
More and more Bats are now ending their hibernation and can be seen feeding most nights often in small groups.
Bats are now fully active and females are beginning to establish maternity colonies along with finding a suitable nest site.
Bats are now fully feeding on thousands of insects every night while females give birth to a single small pup.
Young Bats are still suckling but develop fast and are known to be seen on the ground as they learn to fly at around 3 weeks old.
Bat pups are now around 6 weeks old and begin to catch insects meaning the break-up of the maternity colonies as they leave to find roosts.
Males use special mating calls to attract a female to mate with and Bats begin to built up their fat reserves for winter.
Mating and feeding-up for winter continues with Bats also starting to seek out suitable hibernation spots as the cold draws in.
Bats are beginning to enter states of torpor as it gets colder with some even entering hibernation to save their energy.
During hibernation Bats may roost on their own or in small groups in cool, dark places such as trees, caves and in disused buildings.
For more information about British Bats and how you can help them, please visit the Bat Conservation Trust.
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