Species Of The Week Number 44: Common Pipistrelle

The easiest way to identify a bat is by catching it. Good luck with that, not least as it is illegal. You need both the skills and a licence to even disturb a bats in the wild.

The next best way is by recording its call - which the bat uses to echolocate. Unfortunately bat calls are nearly always too high pitched for the human ear - although sometimes young people with really good hearing can hear those bat species which call at the very lowest frequency.

Nevertheless if you turn up the sound on the recent video on the Meanwood Road Project Instagram or Facebook pages not only can you see some of our Meanwood Common Pipistrelle bats but you can also hear them. That's because of a clever device called a heterodyne bat detector which changes the frequency of the bat call in real time, so that we can point it at them and hear their calls.

As well as having borrowed a bat detector to make the video we have also borrowed a posh device to record the calls. When you run these calls through some smart software it creates a sonogram from which it is possible to identify individual species. You can see the sonogram from one of our local Pipistrelles in the second image in the posts. There is another species of Pipistrelle, the Soprano Pipistrelle which was only discovered as a separate species about 25 years ago - discovered primarily by analysis of differing call frequencies.

Bats are the only mammals that can truly fly - Flying Foxes and Flying Squirrels are gliding rather than flying. They give birth to live young (as they are mammals) and the young are called pups. The Common Pipistrelle is our smallest bat and has a wingspan of around 20cms. They emerge about 15mins after sunset and start to gobble up insects - up to 3000 of them every night in fact.

There are 16 species of bat resident in the UK. We think there could theoretically be up to 8 species in Meanwood but so far we have only identified 2 of them so far, the Pipistrelle and the Noctule bat. If you do know of any local bat colonies please let me know and we can come and try and identify them for you.

Publicado el julio 24, 2023 07:36 MAÑANA por clunym clunym


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