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Vespertilionid Bats: Vespertilionidae

Western Barbastelle (barbastella Barbastellus): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: 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.

Habitat: These bats prefer upland forests, usually near water.

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.

The western barbastelle lives in central and northern Europe, preferring upland forests, usually near water. (Illustration by Emily Damstra. Reproduced by permission.)

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. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsVespertilionid Bats: Vespertilionidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Vespertilionid Bats And People, Conservation Status, Pallid Bat (antrozous Pallidus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET