Lesser Horseshoe Bat Rhinolophus hipposideros

Scientific Name: Rhinolophus hipposideros (Rhinolophidae).

English Name: Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Horseshoe bat family).

French Name: Petit rhinolophe (='Little crested nose'); Petit rhinolophe fer à cheval (='Little horseshoe crested nose'); Petit fer à cheval (='Little horseshoe').

5 Key Characters:
  • a very small bat (about 4cm long and weighing about 7g).
  • hangs with wings wrapped around body, looking rather like a shell.
  • very distinctive nose with 'leaf'.
  • flies throughout the night, from about half an hour after sunset.
  • echolocation frequency around 110kHz.

Lookalikes: Greater Horseshoe Bat Rhinopholus ferrumequinum, which is much bigger.

Habitat: Caves (abandoned underground limestone quarries); roofspaces of country houses and stables (summertime); cellars, tunnels, chimneys. They like cool temperatures and high humidity for hibernation. They eat insects such as midges, moths and caddis flies.

Hibernation Period: September-October-November-December-January-February-March-April-May.

Status: Protected. Population in decline, mainly due to disturbance of roosting sites, to which they are very sensitive.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

A Lesser Horseshoe Bat hibernating amongst the stalactites in a privately owned cave (abandoned underground limestone quarry)  in Preuilly-sur-Claise.
Evidence (droppings all over the floor) of bat occupation in an abandoned bathroom in the roof space of a chateau. The photo was taken in February when the bats were absent. This room is a summer maternity roost for Lesser Horseshoe Bats.
The maternity roost in the chateau bathroom. Photographed during the summer survey June 2016 by Kathy Walter.

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