On 4th July, ACD undertook a preliminary roost inspection of a barn in Highworth, Swindon. The barn had lots of potential features for roosting bats, with a stone wall containing many holes and crevices which bats could use as summer roosts and also possibly for hibernation.
An endoscope was used on all of the suitable features that was accessible. Inside the barn was a wooden panel mounted on the stone wall with an electricity meter attached. Previously several common pipistrelle bats Pipistrellus pipistrellus had been found under this feature. A torch was shone upwards from underneath the wooden panel where an outline of a bat appeared. On closer inspection with the endoscope, we were very excited to see that there was in fact a beautiful barbastelle bat Barbastella barbastellus! Barbastelles are very distinctive due to their blackish coloured fur, long rounded ears which meet on the forehead and short upturned nose giving it a pug-like appearance. They are very elusive and found only in southern England and Wales. Few breeding sites are known and they often live in crevices in trees.
Barbastelle bats are extremely rare and therefore have a high level of protection. They are protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, they are also a priority species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiveristy Framework, Europen Protected Species under Annex IV of the European Habitats Directive and listed as Near Threatened on the global IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Barbastelle bat Barbastella barbastellus