Bats in West Yorkshire
Bats can be seen almost anywhere in West Yorkshire. Some of the best places to see bats are areas with a variety of wildlife habitats such as grasslands, water and woodlands. Places where large number sof bats have been recorded include Hardcastle crags, Harewood House and Nostell Priory
Of the 17 resident breeding species of bats in the UK, the following species have been recorded in the West Yorkshire area.
- Brandt’s bat
Similar to the Whiskered bat, this species is a very fast and skilled flyer and will often forage within woodland, unlike the Whiskered bat. It’s face and the base of its ears are often pink.
- Brown long-eared bat
This slow flying bat has huge ears which helps it hunt it’s prey, and can even take insects from the surface of leaf. It is thought to be very under-recorded in West Yorkshire.
- Common pipistrelle
Although this is the smallest bat found in Europe, its range covers a large area from North Africa to Asia and most of Europe. As the name suggests, this bat is common and widespread. Since it often roosts in houses and feeds nearby, it is the bat species most likely to be seen. It has an erratic flight pattern, often flying at roof level in a circle. It echolocates at a frequency of 45kHz.
- Daubenton’s bat
Sometimes referred to as the Water Bat. It spends most of its life over or close to water, typically living in bridges or buildings close to rivers, canals or reservoirs. It often picks insects off the surface of the water with its large feet. Daubenton’s bats can live up to 30 years!
- Leisler’s bat
This is a medium sized bat with dark brown fur. It flies in a straight and fast pattern and can travel up to 10 km whilst searching for food. It is a fairly rare species but West Yorkshire is something of a hot spot for it.
This bat has slightly longer more reddish fur than the common pipistrelle and is also larger with broader wings. It is a highly migratory species and is generally commoner in central and eastern Europe, although there have been sightings of the bat on oil rigs in the North Sea! There are very few records from West Yorkshire.
- Natterer’s bat
This bat has a light grey underside with brown fur on the top. The species is deemed to be rare in the UK and there are few records from West Yorkshire.
This is the largest bat found in West Yorkshire, with a wingspan of up to 38 centimetres. It’s usually one of the earlier species to be seen in the evening, flying high over meadows and around the tops of trees in the early dusk and can easily be mistaken for a late flying bird.
- Soprano pipistrelle
This species of bat was only separated from the common pipistrelle as recently as 1999. This was due to the difference in frequency the two species echolocate at with the Soprano pipistrelle calling at 55kHz. It is a small species of bat which is considered fairly common.
- Whiskered bat
A small bat with longish fur which is similar to the Brandt’s bat in appearance with dark brown fur and a slight golden tinge on the back. They tend to fly at around 20 m and prefer to feed along woodland edges or hedgerows.