20 September 2012
A Geoffroys bat has been discovered for the first time by colleagues working in west Sussex
Colleagues studying bat populations during a Natural England internal training course last week in west Sussex were delighted to discover a Geoffroy’s bat during an evening survey – the first time the species has been recorded in the UK.
Geoffroy’s bat Myotis emarginatus, is normally found in mainland Europe and is a small species which weighs between six and nine grams and has woolly fur with a foxy red tint to it. It is also known as the notch-eared bat because of a distinctive notch in the top part of its ear.
This is the second new species recorded in the UK in the past few years after Alcathoe’s bat was discovered, also in Sussex, in 2010. Despite there being 17 species breeding in the UK, which make over a third of our native British mammals, bats remain one of our least understood creatures. Natural England is working with regional bat experts to learn more about the habitats of these fascinating creatures and why they are drawn to the area.
Bat populations in the UK have been declining over the last few years - all species in the UK are now legally protected and a licence is required from Natural England before any disturbance of the animals or their roosts can be carried out. We regularly run training courses for staff and bat conservation volunteers, providing latest information and advice to help improve the species’ conservation status.