Lesser horseshoe bat

Lesser Horseshoe Bat Project

The lesser horseshoe bat is one of the smallest British bat species. They weigh between 5 and 9g, and the length of their body is between 35 and 45mm. It has a complex noseleaf to help with its intricate echolocation system.

Lesser horseshoe bat [photo courtesy of Mike Castle]Wales and south-west England are North European strongholds for this species. It is, therefore, a priority species for conservation across this region. In Denbighshire we have several significant roosts, including maternity roosts, where females collect together to give birth and nurture their single youngster. 


Historically the lesser horseshoe bat had a much wider distribution across the UK, extending from Wales, across northern England and into the South. However populations have suffered in the past as a result of disturbance to roosts and intensive agricultural practices. Across Europe there have been huge declines, which, ultimately, led to protective European legislation and intensified conservation efforts.


In the maternity roost at Nantclwyd y Dre in Ruthin, we are filming the bat activity using infra-red CCTV cameras. Thanks to funding from Chester Zoo, we upgraded the camera system in early 2015 and footage from the roost can be viewed in the entrance to the visitor attraction. Researchers from Bangor University are analysing the footage to increase our understanding of the species.

You can also watch live-streamed footage of the bats on Chester Zoo’s website, thanks to generous sponsorship from streaming company NWSG. Watch the bats live in their roost, 24 hours a day, throughout the breeding season!


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