Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Mammalia / Chiroptera / Vespertilionidae / Plecotus / Species
Plecotus auritus - Brown long-eared bat (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Common long-eared bat
  • Oriellard roux (French)
  • Braunes Langohr (German)
  • Murciélago orejudo dorado (Spanish)
  • Vespertilio auritus L. 1758; Sweden.
  • Plecotus brevimanus Jenyns, 1829; Grunty fen, Cambridgeshire, England.

Alternative species names (the second part of the binomial species names): [Genus] brevimanus; [Genus] communis; [Genus] cornutus; [Genus] megalotos; [Genus] homochrous; [Genus] montanus; [Genus] ognevi; [Genus] otus; [Genus] peronii; [Genus] puck; [Genus] sacrimontis; [Genus] typus; [Genus] uenoi; [Genus] velatus; [Genus] vulgaris; (B141).

Names for new-borns / juveniles

Names for males --
Names for females --

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General Appearance

Brown bat with very long ears, translucent brown membranes, long thumbs (B142, B167)

Similar Species

Other bats. Distinguished by:
  • Nose with simple shape (no horseshoe).
  • Base of ears joined at top of head.
  • Ear more than 25mm long when extended: nearly as long as body.

Distinguished from Plecotus austriacus - Grey long-eared bat by: tragus less than 5.5mm wide at widest point, long (usually over 6.2mm) slender thumb, second upper premolar more than half of height of first upper premolar and usually brown or pink face.

(B142, B147, B167)

Sexual Dimorphism Females slightly larger and heavier than males: October 1g weight difference, April 0.5g weight difference and forearm average females 38.3mm males 37.5mm (Dorset data) (B142).

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Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B51, B141, B142, B143, B147, B167, B221

Husbandry references:

(UK Contacts)

(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

  • --

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

  • Insectivorous Bats (Microchiroptera)

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

  • Insectivorous Bats (Microchiroptera)

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Husbandry Information


Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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Appearance / Morphology

Measurement & Weight

  • Head-body length: 37-48mm (B142).
  • Forearm length: 3442mm (B142).
  • Wingspan: 230-285mm (B142).
Height --
Adult weight General 6-12g: October mean 9.0g, January mean 8.0g, mid-April mean 7.0g, 22% weight loss during hibernation (Dorset data) (B142).
Male --
Female --
New-born weight --
Growth rate --

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General Skull: Condylobasilar length 13-16mm (B142).

Nose: Pointed, relatively long; nostrils on top. Glandular masses on muzzle (B142, B147).

Ears: long (29-38mm, 75% of head-body length). Joined at bases by prominent interauricular septum. Sides appear parallel when ears erect. Brownish. Often folded back to give "ram's horn" appearance when at rest. Tragus nearly half length of ear, with anterior border almost straight, posterior border proximally convex but distally straight or slightly concave, and tip rounded. While torpid ears usually folded beneath wings, but appear to have small 'ear' as tragus of each ear remains erect (B142, B147, B167).

Dentition (Teeth) I 2/3, C1/1, P2/3, M3/3 (B142)
Eyes --

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Legs and Tracks

Wings have low aspect ration. Thumbs long, usually over 6.2mm (B142, B167)
  • Forearm length: 3442mm (B142).
  • Wingspan: 230-285mm (B142).

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Coat / Pelage

Adult Female
  • Dorsal: yellow buff to light or mid-brown. Neck shows indistinct demarcation line from:
  • Ventral: buff, yellow-brown, cream or white.
  • Face: pink to light or mid brown; little hair
  • Membranes: brown, translucent.

(B142, B167)

Variations (If present) --
Moult --
New-born / Juvenile Fur sooty-grey with colour at base and tip similar; may be grey-brown for first year of life (B142, B167).

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Neonate (New-born) Characteristics


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Detailed Anatomy Notes
(Summary information provided for pertinent species-specific data cross-referenced in Wildpro)


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Life Stages / Natural Diet / Physiology

Reproductive Stages

Breeding Season
  • Mating starts autumn.
  • In Britain may copulate any time from October to April; much of insemination may occur in the hibernacula during the winter.

(B142, B147)

Oestrus / Ovulation
Gestation / Pregnancy
  • Late May: palpably pregnant (B142).
Parturition / Birth
  • First three weeks of July (but earlier in very warm weather, later if cold in spring) (B142).
  • 0-70 days after arousal from hibernation (B147).
Neonatal development
  • First ten days: cling to nipple continuously, but left in crèches in roost while female forages.
  • After ten days old: rarely attached to mother during day, crèche formation less obvious
  • 30 days (approximate) first leave roost (few days previous make practice flights within roost)
  • 6 weeks (approximate) weaned. (6-7 weeks, B147)


Litter size
Time between Litters / Litters per year
Lactation / Milk Production
  • About six weeks (B142); 6-7 weeks (B147).
Sexual Maturity
  • Males: usually in second summer, some possibly in first year.
  • Females: first offspring usually at end of second year (75), remainder at end of third year.


  • One to three years (B147).
  • Up to 22 years recorded; over 13 years for a female in Dorset (B142).
  • May be more than 30 years (B147).

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Natural Diet

Small to medium-sized insects:
  • Noctuids, beetles, bugs, earwigs, spiders, other insects.
  • Diet may vary depending on prey available.
  • Lepidoptera and Diptera preferred (B143).

(B142, B147)

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Detailed Physiology Notes
(Summary information provided for pertinent species-specific data cross-referenced in Wildpro)

Temperature --
Pulse --
Respiration --
Faeces 8-12mm long, usually black, often shiny. Accumulate below roost sites (B142).
Haematology / Biochemistry --
Chromosomes 2n = 32, FNa = 50-54 (B142).
Other --

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Feeding Behaviour

  • Forage at height of thickest foliage in woodland (5-6m above ground level); also around isolated trees
  • Feed both by foliage gleaning and catching prey in flight, including within roosts and hibernacula.
  • Probably locate prey by sight and sound not echolocation when foliage gleaning
  • Small prey items may be consumed on the wing, larger prey are taken to feeding perch.

(B142, B143)

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Parental Behaviour

Female recognises infant by vocal and olfactory cues: may be assisted by facial gland secretion (oily, sweet-smelling) produced by lactating and post-lactating females (B142).

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Social Behaviour / Territoriality

Intra-specific Gregarious (B147).
  • In hibernacula: solitary or small groups.
  • Nursery colonies formed May or June, usually among beams in attics (adult females with a few immature animals of both sexes). Usually 5-10 bats (B147).

(B142, B147)

  • In hibernacula: may form clusters with bats of other species (B142).

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Sexual Behaviour

Promiscuous (B142).

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Predation in Wild

Tyto alba - barn owl, tawny owl, kestrel, domestic cats (B142)

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Activity Patterns

  • Flight: slow, fluttering, very agile, commonly hovering. Flight is usually close to trees.
  • Hibernation: begins November, ends late March (England and Europe).
  • May be active at temperatures down to 1°C.
  • When hibernating: wings usually folded loosely around body, with ears under wings and legs bent.


  • Daytime: roost in confined spaces (hang from rafters with wings spread if temperature >40C).
  • Active within roost from about 40 minutes before sunset (stretch, groom, short flights).
  • Emergence about 40 minutes after sunset.
  • May remain out until dawn, except for females returning after 1-2 hours to suckle offspring.
  • Emergence may be prevented by heavy rain, strong winds.


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Habitat and Range

General Habitat Type

Lightly wooded areas.
  • Britain: sheltered valleys.
  • Continental Europe: mountainous woodland.


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Nests / Burrows / Shelters

  • Summer roosts: Buildings (particularly older, wood-lines buildings near to woodland) and treeholes.
  • Hibernacula: caves, also buildings, trees, mines.
  • Preferred hibernacula temperature mean 6°C, range 1-8°C.
  • Cool outer regions of caves preferred; found in crevices
  • Often use bat boxes, including for nursery colonies.

(B142, B143, B147).

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Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal Palearctic.
  • From Britain and Ireland eastwards across Europe and (disjunct distribution) Asia to Mongolia, south-eastern Siberia, north-west China, Sakhalin, Japan, Himalayas. In Europe, south to southern Portugal, Italy, Greece and north to 63-64°N (B142, B143, B147).
  • Britain and France to north-east China, Korea, Japan, possibly northern India (B51)
  • In Britain: almost everywhere; not found in exposed areas of northern and north-western Scotland and off shore islands in these areas (B142).


  • Generally considered stationary, with longest flight in Europe measured as 42km (B142).
  • Some immigration to Britain from continental Europe may occur (B142).
  • Longest flight recorded 66km (B143).
Occasional and Accidental --


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Intraspecific variation

British animals average slightly smaller than those from continental Europe (B142).

Two subspecies recognised in Europe:

  • Plecotus auritus auritus.
  • Plecotus auritus begognae de Paz, 1994 (central Iberian Peninsula) - larger than nominate form.
  • (B143).

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -

Generally abundant in northern Europe; rare in southern Europe. Declines some areas e.g. locally in Netherlands and in central Germany (B143).

  • In Britain: native, common. Pre-breeding population estimate of about 200,000, including 155,000 in England, 27,500 in Scotland, 17,500 in Wales. Population estimate is "based on a very limited amount of information for the species" although additional knowledge "may not necessarily have made a substantial difference to the estimate". (B221)

General Legislation:
  • Bern Convention, Appendix II
  • Bonn Convention, Appendix II.
  • EU Habitats and Species Directive, Annex IV


CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Captive Populations  

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