Museum Treasures: Brown long-eared bat
Eleven species of bat have been recorded in Staffordshire and four of these – the common pipistrelle, the brown long-eared bat, the noctule and natterer’s bat – can be seen in the habitat displays in the natural history gallery. This is located on the ground floor of The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in a permanent collection alongside other animals and habitat found in the county.
Bats are remarkable creatures in that they are the only mammals that are capable of true flight. Species that are found locally all eat insects and are most commonly seen at dusk and dawn. They hibernate in winter to conserve energy when food supplies are limited. In this country bats are regarded as endangered species and are protected by law.
One of the most easily identified common species is the brown long-eared bat. As the name suggests, they have distinctive large ears that are almost as long as their bodies. They begin hibernating in November and their favoured habitats are parkland, well-wooded farmland and urban areas with gardens.
The most common type of bat that you are most likely to see flying around built up areas is the pipistrelle. They are small, with adults weighing just 3 to 8 grams, but can live up to 16 years. Their hibernation period starts in about mid-October although, if there are warmer spells in the winter, some may wake up and fly out to look for food.
Why not visit the display in the natural history gallery at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery to see them for yourself?