2 minute read

Horseshoe Bats: Rhinolophidae

Cape Horseshoe Bat (rhinolophus Capensis): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: The cape horseshoe bat is small to medium in size, with a head and body length of about 2.4 inches (6.2 centimeters). Its fur on the upper side and wings are dark brown, the back is lighter brown and the underside is brown to cream in color. It has the distinctive horseshoe ring around the nose, with a large, wavy triangular leaf extending from the horseshoe up between the eyes.

Geographic range: Cape horseshoe bats are found along the coastline of southern Africa.

Habitat: Cape horseshoe bats live along the coast. They are found in coastal and sea caves.

Cape horseshoe bats live along the coast of southern Africa, in coastal and sea caves. (Illustration by Emily Damstra. Reproduced by permission.)

Diet: Cape horseshoe bats eat mainly beetles.

Behavior and reproduction: These bats catch their prey while flying slowly and low to the ground. They also can hunt from perches, waiting for prey to pass. When roosting, they usually hang individually, rather than in dense clusters.

They mate in spring, August through September, and young are born from November to December.

Cape horseshoe bats and people: There is no known, significant relationship between these bats and people.

Conservation status: The IUCN lists the cape horseshoe bat as Vulnerable. ∎



Fenton, M. Brock. Bats. New York: Checkmark Press, 2001.

Fenton, M. Brock. The Bat: Wings in the Night Sky. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books, 1998.

Nowak, Ronald M. "Horseshoe Bats." Walker's Mammals of the World 5.1 Online. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997. http://www.press.jhu.edu/books/walkers_mammals_of_the_world/chiroptera/chiroptera.rhinolophidae.rhinolophus.html (accessed on July 5, 2004).

Raabe, Emily. Horseshoe Bats. New York, NY: Powerkids Press, 2003.

Richardson, Phil. Bats. London: Whittet Books, 1985.

Ruff, Sue, and Don E. Wilson. Bats. New York: Benchmark Books, 2001.


Griffin, Donald R. "Return to the Magic Well: Echolocation Behavior of Bats and Responses of Insect Prey." BioScience (July, 2001): 555.

"Horseshoe Bats Sound Out the Choicest Prey." New Scientist (March, 2003): 36.

Thi Dao, Nguyen. "My Life as a Forest Creature: Growing Up with the Cuc Phuong National Park. (This Land)." Natural History (March, 2003): 70.

Web sites:

"Bats in Australia." Australian Museum. http://www.amonline.net.au/bats/records/bat15.htm (accessed on July 5, 2004).

Myers, Phil. "Family Rhinolophidae (Horseshoe Bats and Old World Leaf-Nosed Bats)." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Rhinolophidae.html (accessed on July 5, 2004).

Roberts, G. M., and A. M. Hutson. "Greater Horseshoe Bat: Rhinolophus ferrumequinum The Bat Conservation Trust. http://www.bats.org.uk/batinfo/gr_horse.htm (accessed on July 5, 2004).

"Greater Horseshoe Bat." BBC Science and Nature: Animals. http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/wildfacts/factfiles/284.shtml (accessed on July 5, 2004).

"Greater Horseshoe Bat: Rhinolophus ferrumequinum." UK Biodiversity Action Plan. http://www.ukbap.org.uk/ukplans.aspx?ID=550 (accessed on July 5, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsHorseshoe Bats: Rhinolophidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Horseshoe Bats And People, Conservation Status, Greater Horseshoe Bat (rhinolophus Ferrumequinum): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET