The lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros) is rare in the British Isles and is confined to Wales, western England and western Ireland. The lesser horseshoe bat has a complex noseleaf which is related to its particular type of echolocation system. It eats a variety of small insects including flies (mainly midges), small moths, caddis flies, lace wings and beetles.
The lesser horseshoe bat is at the northern edge of its range in the UK so it is likely to be vulnerable to changes in climate. The species is listed as Least Concern on the global IUCN Red List of mammals, but the worldwide population is recorded as decreasing. This species is in decline due to a number of factors, including the disturbance or destruction of roosts, changes in agricultural practices (such as the increased use of insecticides, which reduce prey availability) and the loss of suitable foraging habitats.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Cheshire Bat Group recently discovered two lesser horseshoe bats hanging in caves at Beeston Castle, Cheshire. The species was last recorded in Cheshire at the same site back in 1948. Toby also spotted this lesser horseshoe bat hanging in a disused building in France.