Echolocation is a common way insectivorous bats find their food, but the Western Barbastelle Bat uses not one but two different forms of echolocation to find tasty insects to eat.
Echolocation is a common way insectivorous bats find their food, but the Western Barbastelle Bat (Barbastella barbastellus) uses not one but two different forms of echolocation to find tasty insects to eat.
The Western Barbastelle Bat emits pulses from two different locations—its mouth and its nose. Once these pulses bounce off insects, the bats know where they are and can swoop in and devour them. Their echolocation calls are quieter than some bat species, so they can be sneaky when approaching prey. This insectivore primarily eats large moths as well as other insects.
During the day, they roost in places like trees—where they nestle under loose bark or in hollow trees—or buildings and rock crevices. Right around dusk, they emerge from their roosts and fly low over water, forest edges, and forest canopies.
The species is listed as Near Threatened on IUCN’s Red List. They prefer mature forest habitat, so habitat destruction or degradation can be harmful to them. These bats primarily live in Europe as well as the Canary Islands, the Caucasus, and Morocco. They have been spotted high in the mountains at over 7,000 feet above sea level.
With pug-shaped noses, Western Barbastelle Bats usually have black, brown and dark gray fur, and weigh between 6 and 13 grams on average.
After mating in the fall, pups are born around mid-June. They will usually just have one pup and a nursery roost of 10 to 20 females and their pups are typical. Before long, those little pups will be out flying around and echolocating their own insects to eat.