On the occasion oft the International Bat Night that takes place on the last weekend in August every year, we want to introduce the bat oft he year 2016 to you, the noctule bat (Nyctalus noctula).
This bat species is, with a wingspan of 40 cm, one oft the biggest domestic species. With a speed of 50 km/h noctule bats are not only very fast but they also cover long distances of up to 1600 km when moving from their winter to the summer habitat and back.
Noctule bats hunt in areas full of insects. Besides wetlands and areas around rivers they can also be watched in lighted streets and parking areas. Because oft their size they are also able to hunt larger prey animals as butterflies and chafers.
During summertime noctule bats live in hollow trees (e.g. old woodpecker holes or rotten parts of trees), torn trunks or specially provided bat boxes. In wintertime they hang closely one beside the other in hollow trees or in houses. There they withstand, in contrast to smaller bat species, even strong temperature variations. During warm winter days their social shouts can be heard already from fare distances.
As other bat species, the stock oft the noctule bat is endangered too and therefore they are on the Red List. Reasons for endangering are mostly the loss of appropriate summer and winter habitats that are precondition for a successful reproduction. This process could be stopped, if the requirements of bats would be considered in case of reconstruction an modernisation of buildings or when trees are cut down. Especially thoughtful house owners can have honoured their engagement with the batch „Fledermaus komm ins Haus“ (Come in bat!).
The international bat night will pay attention to these fascinating animals living in secrecy. With some fortune the quick hunters can be watched at twilight in gardens, parks or in the outskirts of forests. Go out and see them yourselves!