Brown Long-eared Bat - Plecotus auritus


The Brown Long-eared Bat is 4 to 5 cm head-and-body length and weighs 6 to 12 gm. These bats have ears that are nearly as long as their body (roughly 4 cm). They are able to fold their ears under their forearm so that they are not visible when the bat is at rest. This possibly keeps the ears safe from damage or attack by e.g. blood-sucking insects and also prevents moisture loss through the enormous skin surface which could desiccate the delicate structure.

Similar Species

It is in most respects very similar in appearance to its close relative the rather larger Grey Long-eared Bat (Plecotus austriacus), a rare species sometimes seen in southern England. It is very difficult to differentiate between the two long-eared bat species.

Identification difficulty

These bats rarely emerge until after dark. Then their favoured haunts are trees at the edges of woodland or parks.

When to see it

Late spring and summer. In the winter, they hibernate in cellars, tunnels and caves, usually alone.

Life History

Capable of eating quite large insects, including moths and beetles. Long-eared bats are very fluffy, which probably acts as insulation and enables them to roost in relatively exposed situations, whereas Pipistrelles tend to roost deep in crevices during the winter.

UK Status

Second most numerous bat species in Britain after the Pipistrelle. It is widespread and fairly frequent.

VC55 Status

Fairly frequent though not really common in Leicestershire and Rutland.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map