Greater Horseshoe Bat
Greater Horseshoe Bats are one of the rarest bats in Europe.
One of the UK’s largest bats, it gets its name from a large ‘nose-leaf’, shaped like a horseshoe. The bat uses its nose-leaf to send out a high-frequency call to locate its prey, in a process known as echolocation. Moths, beetles, caddis-flies, crane-flies and gnats all make up the diet of Greater Horseshoe Bats. Like all bats, they hunt at night, usually catching their prey on the wing, although they sometimes pick up insects from the ground or gather them from vegetation. Large prey is usually taken to a feeding perch to be eaten – the remains of insects below are a sure sign that a bat has been feeding above.
Fourteen of Britain’s 18 species of bats are found around Chudleigh. All bats are protected by law. Up to 200 Greater Horseshoe Bats breed and spend the winter in caves near here, so you might just get to see one flying low along woodland edges at dawn or dusk. They stick to the darkest areas, away from street lights and security lights, and are known to fly to sites up to 10 km away to feed. This post is situated in Chudleigh Wild’s Bat Garden, where you’ll find moth-friendly plants, a bug hotel and even a bench in the shape of a Greater Horseshoe Bat.