Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Greater Horseshoe Bat

Greater Horseshoe Bat

Scientific name: Rhinolophus ferrumequinum

The Greater Horseshoe Bat is the largest of the European Horseshoe Bats and is thus easily distinguished from other species. The species is sedentary, travelling between 20 and 30 kilometers between the winter and summer roosts.

The Greater Horseshoe Bat is on average between 57 and 71mm long, with a 35 to 43mm tail and a 350 to 400mm wingspan. The fur of the species is soft and fluffy, with the base of hairs being light grey, the dorsal side hair grey brown and the ventral side grey-white, with juvenile bats having more of an ash-grey tint to their fur. Wing membranes and ears are light grey-brown.

The Greater Horseshoe Bat lives in warmer regions of areas of open trees and scrub, near areas of standing water, areas of limestone and human settlement. The species is mainly house-dwelling in the north and cave-dwelling in the south.

The Greater Horseshoe Bat leaves its roost at dusk, and its flying is made up of slow, fluttering travel with short glides, normally between 0.3 and 6 meters above the ground, with little hunting during wet and windy weather. It hunts in terrain with poor tree cover such as hillsides, cliff faces and in gardens, locating insects from its resting place and then intercepting them. The species has the ability to pick food up off the ground while still in flight, and indeed drinks during low-level flight or while hovering. The feeding range of colonies in England is between 8 and 16 kilometers.
The species is rare in Britain.

Information and photograph courtesy of