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These quirky creatures have a unique combination of physical and ecological adaptations that make them unlike any other group of mammals

They fly – with a range of flight patterns and strategies for catching their insect prey

 

They are nocturnal – an adaptation to evade predators and reduce competition for food with other animals which also makes it more difficult for us to study them!

 

They use ultrasonic echolocation - to navigate and to hunt, although some species also have better night vision and hearing than humans.

 

They hibernate – full torpor usually extends from December to February (depending on the weather), although they will wake occasionally to drink or feed.

 

Reproduction – they generally mate in the Autumn, store the sperm over the winter, and then conceive in the Spring. In Britain, all species have just one baby per year, which is weaned after about five or six weeks.

 

Longevity – for a small mammal, they can live an amazingly long time – the oldest ever recorded was a 41 year old Brandt’s Bat living in the wild! Many species can live to over 20 years old.

Brown long-eared in tree (©Hugh Clark~Bat C