Species Focus

Brown long-eared bat

(Plecotus auratus)


Brown-long eared bats are a focus species for the Western bund habitat area at Waterbeach.

Watch a Brown long-eared bat

Listen to a Brown long-eared bat

Discover: Brown long-eared bat

General information: These nocturnal bats are greyish-brown with enormous ears, almost as long as their bodies. They feed on flying insects in gardens and woodland, consuming smaller prey like midges mid-flight and taking large prey like moths to perches to eat upside-down.
  • Conservation status: Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework; European Protected Species under Annex IV of the European Habitats Directive.
  • When resting their ears can be rolled back and hidden away.
  • Brown long-eared bats have been found hibernating in suitable structures at Waterbeach.
  • Measurements: Length: 3.7-5.2 cm, wingspan: 20-30 cm, weight: 6-12 g.

Their large ears enable them to almost silently hunt their prey using echolocation. This is where they call loudly while flying and the returning echo gives the bat a sense of the world ahead of them, including the size and shape of insect prey.

Brown long eared bat
Can you spot: Between April and October try looking for these bats as they fly out of their roost at sunset. They tend to be slower with a more erratic flight than other bats.

Did you know: Brown long-eared bats like to roost in tree holes or old barns and buildings in the summer, with females forming maternity roosts where they raise a single pup each. Over winter these bats hibernate in caves, tunnels and mines.

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Discover more ecology areas Waterbeach

Northern buffer
Northern buffer habitat area
western bund Waterbeach

Western bund habitat area

Former golf course at Waterbeach
Former golf course habitat area

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