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.|