WESTERN BARBASTELLE – Barbastella barbastellus


Barbastelle bat facts: This large-eared bat ranges from 1.8 to 2.4 inches (4.5 to 6.0 centimeters) in body length with a tail nearly as long, and 0.2 to 0.4 ounces (6 to 12 grams) in weight. Its back fur is black with white tips, and its belly fur is lighter.

Geographic range: The western barbastelle lives in central and northern Europe.

Barbastelle bat habitat: These bats prefer upland forests, usually near water.

Barbastelle bat diet: This species eats mainly flying insects, which they catch in midair. They will also swoop down to plants and pluck insects from their leaves.

Behavior and reproduction: This bat becomes active before sunset when it emerges from its daytime roosts in trees, caves, and other secluded spots. It is more solitary than many other vespertilionid bats, with many individuals spending the summer alone.

Females will sometimes form small maternity colonies. Hibernation begins in late fall. Many questions remain about this rather rare bat’s behavior.

Western barbastelles and people: Like other insect-eating bats, the western barbastelle rids its habitat of many insects that humans might consider pests.

Conservation status: The IUCN Red List lists this bat as Vulnerable.