Bat Rehabilitation Ireland
Bat Rehabilitation Ireland is Ireland’s largest bat rescue, caring for almost 1,500 bats from across the country since opening its Centre in 2019. Our mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and release all species of native Irish bats, whilst promoting bat conservation through education and scientific research.
Bats In Ireland
Ireland’s smallest species of bat, the Soprano Pipistrelle weighs between 5-6g and measures less than 5cm. Feeding on midges, mosquitoes, moths and small flying insects. This species can eat over 3,000 of these per night. Though they can often be found roosting in trees and underground caves, the majority of roost sites are found in buildings.
The Common Pipistrelle weighs between 5-7g and measures less than 5cm. This species is so similar to the Soprano Pipistrelle, that they were only recognised as separate species in 1997. The darker skin colouration of the Common Pipistrelle is one of the features that identifies this species.
Photo by Conor Kelleher
The Nathusius’ Pipistrelle is far rarer in Ireland than both the Soprano and Common Pipistrelle. This species can often weigh up to 11g. The Nathusius’ Pipistrelle is migratory in Europe. Migrations of more than 1,600km have been recorded between summer and hibernation sites. It is not known if Nathusius’ are migrating from Ireland between the UK and Europe but research is taking place to track the movement of the Irish population.
Photo by Brendan Gleesons
The Brown Long Eared Bat
Easily identified by its ear length, the Brown Long Eared Bat is Ireland’s only species of Long Eared Bat. They like to forage in woodland. Using a method known as ‘gleaning’, they grab moths, spiders and other insects from leaves. They will often take their prey to a feeding perch which can be in a shed or out building. These perches are easily recognisable by piles of insect remains, such as moth wings that gather below them.
Photo by Conor Kelleher
The Lesser Horseshoe Bat
This is the only representative of the Rhinolophidae family in Ireland. It has a unique nose leaf with which it projects its echolocation calls. It is easily identified by a horseshoe-shaped flap of skin surrounding the nostrils. In Ireland, the Lesser Horseshoe bat is confined to six western counties; Mayo, Galway, Clare, Limerick, Cork and Kerry. The species has been recorded once in Roscommon and twice in Sligo. It roosts mainly in roofs of old houses or in outhouses, stables or old cottages.
Leisler’s bat is Ireland’s largest species of bat weighing between 12-20g. Its coat has golden-tipped or reddish-brown fur, which is darker at the base and longer over its shoulders and upper back, giving it a lion’s- mane appearance. Leisler’s bat can be seen soon after dusk flying over open spaces such as parks and fields. It is rare in Britain and the rest of Europe but it is common in Ireland. For this reason, the Irish population of Leisler’s bats is considered of international importance.
Daubenton’s bat is a small to medium-sized bat, with fluffy grey/brown fur, a pale silver-grey belly and a pink face. Another distinguishing feature of this species is its large feet. Sometimes referred to as the ‘water bat’, the Daubenton’s bat forages for small flies, such as midges, caddisflies and mayflies just above water; it can even use its feet and tail to scoop up insects from the water’s surface as it forages. Daubenton’s bats like to roost near water and can choose roost sites under bridges or in tunnels.
Natterer’s bat is a medium-sized bat. It feeds on midges and moths, as well as many other small flying insects. Natterer’s bats also forage on beetles and spiders that they take directly from foliage. Their flight is relatively slow and they can be found hunting over water and among the trees after sunset. They can be found roosting in old buildings like churches and castles.
The Whiskered Bat
A small species of bat weighing between 5-7g, the whiskered bat has a shaggy coat and pointed ears. This is a species from the genus Myotis or “Mouse eared”. The Whiskered Bat is closely related to the Natterer’s, Daubenton’s and Brandt’s bats. Brandt’s bat has only one confirmed record in Ireland to date, leaving the species classed as vagrant.