Bats in Sussex
LATEST NEWS - January 2023 - Bat thought extinct in UK found in West Sussex rail tunnel - BBC News
Here in Sussex, we are lucky enough to offer suitable opportunities for some of Britain's rarest bat species.
Some highlights include:
The most south-easterly breeding population of Greater horseshoe bat Rhinolophus ferrumequinum
Two (yes that's right) Greater mouse-eared bat Myotis myotis hibernating in disused railway tunnels in West Sussex. this means not previously recorded, Both bats have been confirmed as untagged - making them the only two known to have ventured across the channel in over 20 years, save for 'lonely Joe'.
There are 18 species of bat in the UK, all of which have been recorded in Sussex. Some are resident in Sussex, while others turn up occasionally or at certain times of the year.
E = England W = Wales S = Scotland
Four other bat species have been recorded in Sussex as vagrants:
Savi’s pipistrelle (Hypsugo savii), Kuhl's pipistrelle (Pipistrellus kuhlii), parti-coloured bat (Vespertilio murinus) and Geoffroy's bat (Myotis emarginatus).
Information sheets on each of the species can be found on the Bat Conservation Trust website
Bats are the only mammals capable of true flight. Those found in the UK feed exclusively on insects and use a sophisticated form of sonar to navigate and catch their prey at night. In late spring and summer, female bats form maternity colonies to raise their young. This is when they are most obvious to us, as they leave the roost at or after sunset in search of food.
Bats hibernate during the winter when insects are scarce, usually at a different site to the maternity roost where a constant cool temperature can be found i.e. in underground sites or within deep crevices in trees or buildings. Bats return to the same roost sites every year, so even if the animals themselves are not present, the roost is still legally protected.
Unfortunately there are many misconceptions about bats. They are in fact sociable, intelligent, clean animals that rarely come into contact with humans. They do not build nests and very rarely cause structural damage to buildings.