Brown Long-eared

The Brown Long-eared bat is typically a woodland bat which is widespread throughout the area and is our second most numerous species. In wooded areas like the Thetford Forest it outnumbers Pipistrelles. The broad wings and hovering flight enable this bat, with its unmistakable large ears, to detect and catch insect prey on the foliage of trees and bushes. They can be found in a wide range of daytime roosts including thatched barns and hollow trees, but a classic site for the breeding groups of 10 to 50 is along the ridge board of a slated or black pantiled roof. They regularly breed in the specially made bat boxes placed in the Thetford Forest, with over 70 being found in a single box on occasion. Nearly 600 boxes have been placed at two dozen sites in this area and these are used during the spring to autumn period. Hibernating Long-eared bats can be found in underground sites in the autumn and spring, but have been found in such diverse places as the hollow concrete blocks of a pig sty, under ridge tiles & even beneath loose wallpaper of a long deserted farmhouse.

There is still an enormous amount to learn about the habits and distribution of these understudied and misunderstood animals and everyone is encouraged to help with this task by reporting any found or seen, and to encourage the conservation of known roosting sites.
John Goldsmith.