Since 2005 we have been monitoring Daubentons and Lesser horseshoe bats each summer using bat detectors to distinguish species and measure the population. The data collected from these surveys is submitted to the Bat Conservation Trust, who together with the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), co-ordinate the National Bat Monitoring Programme (NBMP). The data helps to provide a comprehensive summary of the distribution and status of individual species throughout the British Isles. For more information about monitoring bats visit click here.
Daubenton's bats hibernate for six months of the year and roost close to water in hollow trees, tunnels and even lofts for the rest of the year. They leave their roosts at twilight to hunt for small insects which they scoop up with their membranous tails and large feet, skimming just centimetres above the water's surface, making Slapton Ley and its associated reedbeds a perfect roosting and feeding ground for this bat.
Lesser horseshoe bats are named for their fleshy nose-leaf structures. These amplify the ultrasonic calls that the bats emit when searching for food. They fly close to the ground when hunting, using echolocation to detect prey and then accurately picking invertebrates off branches and stones.