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Unfortunately, bats still have a bad reputation, but they are very fascinating animals. Many species also live in the local areas, some of which will be presented in more detail in the following article.

In a nutshell

  • Bats have been around for 50 million years
  • only mammal species that has ever learned to actively fly
  • live in the dark, sleep in a dark place during the day and fly only at night
  • Bats always sleep hanging upside down on roof beams or in a cliff cave
  • find their way by ultrasonic calls

wood and rock bats

These species include all bats that stay away from houses and prefer to live directly in the wild, in the forest or in the mountains. Here they prefer to sleep in caves, in dense trees or in rock crevices. In the evening they hunt for their preferred insects in the forest or on meadows.

Types from A - F

Alpine bat (Hypsugo savii, Syn.: Pipistrellus savii)

Source: This illustration was made by (User:Royonx) and released under the license(s) stated above. You are free to use it for any purpose as long as you credit me and follow the terms of the license. Example : © Michel Royon / Wikimedia Commons If you use this image outside of the Wikimedia projects, I would be happy to hear from you par courriel ( royonx Thanks! Ce message en français, Vespere de Savi, edited by Plantopedia, CC0 1.0
  • prefers to live in the mountains
  • only in southern regions of the country
  • lives in rocky habitats
  • between the Alps and the Mediterranean coast
  • increasingly seen in urban areas
  • "motley dog" among bats
  • brown gold shimmering
  • longhaired
  • broad, short, rounded ears
  • keeps wings half-closed in gliding flight

Notice: The highest altitude at which the alpine bat has been sighted is 3,300 meters. Therefore, among all bat species, the alpine bat is considered a mountaineer.

Bechstein's bat (Myotis bechsteinii)

  • lives in 50 different quarters in one year
  • big ears
  • long-haired fur
  • therefore quite slow flight
  • broad, short forewings
  • help with agile flight manoeuvres
  • even between leaves of trees and bushes
  • use only short ultrasonic calls
  • the large ears perceive the smallest echo

Notice: The Bechstein's bat not only hunts for insects in the air, but can also collect insects sitting on the ground or leaves during their flight.

Types of G - J

Noctule Bat (Nyctalus noctula)

  • up to 60 km/h very fast hunting speed
  • at dawn and dusk
  • narrow, long, pointed wings for fast flight
  • Wingspan between 32 and 40 centimeters
  • very persistent, 10 km flight distance usual
  • very large bat species
  • can't maneuver well
  • close-lying, smooth, greasy, auburn fur
  • migratory species
  • fly up to 1,600 km to winter quarters

Great whiskered bat (Myotis brandti)

Source: Rauno Kalda, Brandt's bat (Myotis brandtii), edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0
  • prefers humid areas
  • Moors, damp forests and water bodies
  • small bat species
  • very long fur
  • dark brown-grey base
  • shiny gold on the tips of the fur on the back

Notice: Bats can "see" with their ears by emitting various noises, the frequencies of which are usually inaudible or only very slightly audible to us humans. After the sound that follows, they let themselves be guided.

Greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum)

  • Calls are made through the nose
  • not via the snout like other bats
  • Nose is horseshoe shaped
  • conspicuous flap of skin on the nose
  • in summer in attics of towers or caves
  • in winter in vaults and caves
  • Males mate with all females in the family
  • but are faithful here
  • the species can become very old, up to 30 years

Types of K - Q

Lesser noctule bat (Nyctalus leisleri)

  • little sister species of the common noctule bat
  • annual long hikes
  • hardly smaller than the large species
  • Wingspan 26 to 32 centimeters
  • short, two-tone, close-lying hair
  • Base black-brown, tips rusty brown
  • often hunt along linearly cultivated groves
  • for example avenues or rows of trees
  • also on illuminated streets

Little whiskered bat (Myotis mystacinus)

  • Confused with Pipistrelle and Nymphic Bats
  • likewise with the Great Whiskered Bat
  • only slightly smaller than its "big" sister
  • very rare bat species
  • black-brown flight and face skins
  • curly, long fur
  • dark grey-brown on top
  • hunts in meadows and forests
  • sleeps in buildings
  • in the casings
  • even behind little-used shutters

Northern bat (Eptesicus nilssonii)

  • also occurs north of the Arctic Circle
  • widespread in Europe
  • since cold climates are preferred
  • preferred hunting ground at the edge of the forest
  • also at ponds
  • under lanterns
  • snatches their prey from the air
  • in crevices of buildings in summer
  • in winter in caves or crevices
  • can live up to 20 years

Nymph bat (Myotis alcathoe)

Source: Manuel Ruedi, Myotis alcathoe - Manuel Ruedi - 1, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • was recognized as a distinct species in 2001
  • resembles the whiskered bat
  • has different genetics
  • Teeth and call also distinguish them
  • first seen in Germany in 2005
  • Name from Greek mythology
  • a nymph was turned into a bat as punishment

Types of R - Z

Nathusius' bat (Pipistrellus nathusii)

Source: Evgeniy Yakhontov, Pipistrellus nathusii 01, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • sleeps in attics hunts in forests
  • needs a lot of trees to hunt
  • Accommodation preferred near bodies of water
  • hunt in the shore area
  • Nursery colonies are found in narrow crevices
  • in summer also in tree cavities
  • very small species
  • not much larger than gnats or pipistrelles
  • up to 1,900 km are covered to the winter quarters

Tip: Hang bat boxes in your yard. These are readily accepted by the lesser pipistrelle bat, even if it is classified more as a woodland bat.

Pond Bat (Myotis dasycneme)

Source: Gilles San Martin from Namur, Belgium, Myotis dasycneme, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • large wingspan
  • between 20 and 30 centimeters
  • prefer water-rich areas in northern Germany
  • on rivers or large lakes
  • need large areas of water to hunt
  • straight, fast flight
  • prefer caddis flies and midges

house bats

The house bats include all the species that like to be close to people and prefer to spend the night in attics. These bats then hunt mainly in the gardens and parks on the outskirts of large cities and in small villages.

Types from A - F

Brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus)

  • Ultrasound calls are emitted through the nose and mouth
  • Insects are collected from leaves
  • have bell-mouthed tubes
  • can also perceive soft echoes
  • Forest and garden hunting area
  • also barns or near houses
  • prefer winders, moths and stretchers
  • Nursery colonies increased in attics
  • crawl into cracks in the roof
  • Hibernation prefers damp and cool basements

Tip: If it's very quiet at night, you can even hear the long-eared bats' whispering ultrasonic calls, which are over 50 kilohertz and thus beyond human hearing.

Serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus)

  • Likes to live hidden in expansion joints or crevices
  • between insulation and roof tiles
  • typical “house bat”
  • comes out of quarters right after sunset
  • flies sluggishly and slowly
  • Speed between 20 and 30 km/h
  • Hunting room directly in the adjacent garden
  • preferably also under street lamps

Notice: Did you know that bats have been around for an estimated 50 million years? Mammals are the only ones that have learned to fly independently.

Natterer's Bat (Myotis nattereri)

  • both wood and house bats
  • prefers attics for rearing offspring
  • here in cavities
  • between interior and exterior walls
  • also found in cowsheds
  • are often not left even for foraging
  • bristly hairs on tail skin

Types of G - Z

Gray long-eared bat (Plecotus austriacus)

Source: Andrei Sakhno, Plecotus austriacus1, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Ears look like ram's horn
  • can be confused with brown long-eared bats
  • grey fur
  • long snout
  • prefers building columns
  • in winter in vaults and caves
  • Calls can hardly be heard
  • sounds like "vrrrrrt"

Greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis)

  • has very good ears
  • perceives rustling of leaves on ground
  • preferably attics
  • especially in castles or churches
  • hanging here upside down and free
  • Nursery for more than 2,000 animals
  • Hanging time here is seasonal in the summer
  • only females with offspring
  • come back for many generations

frequently asked Questions

Are extinct species of bats known?

In Germany, the long-winged bat (Miniopterus schreibersii) is considered extinct. While it was still reproducing in the Kaiserstuhl in the 1960s, there has been no evidence since the 1990s that it still lives in Germany. However, it is still widespread in the Mediterranean region.

Is there a "bat species of the year 2022"?

"Bat of the year 2022/21" is the barbabie bat (Barbastella barbastellus), which owes its name to its squat nose, which is similar to the pug. The pug bat belongs to the forest bats, but also likes to move into basements in winter.

Which is the smallest bat species in Germany?

The mosquito bat (Pipistrellus pygmaeus, Syn.: Pipistrellus mediterraneus), which was only discovered a few years ago, is the smallest bat species in the local areas. Previously only the pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) was known. However, it is still largely unexplored how the lifestyle of the two smallest species differs.

How many bat species are there?

There are currently more than 1,200 bat species living on earth. However, most of these prefer the warmth and therefore live in the tropical climate zones. However, the further north you go, the lower the biodiversity. In Germany, for example, 25 species of bats are currently known to inhabit the gardens and forests here.

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