Meet your wild neighbour: the common pipistrelle!

Your wild neighbour, the common pipistrelle!

Rarely seen at halloween...

The pipistrelle actually hibernates from around mid-October onwards so they're unlikely to make an appearance at Halloween.

One of the bats you’re most likely to see flying around in urban areas. It usually flies between 2 and 10 m above the ground with a rapid, restless, fluttering flight, appearing as a small dark silhouette against the sky (think of the Batman symbol!) with a roughly 20 cm wingspan

Will you record one during the Great Yorkshire Creature Count?

Common pipistrelle bat (c) Tom Marshall

Common pipistrelle bat - Tom Marshall

Why do they make great neighbours for your garden?

You can rely on bats to hoover up lots of biting insects!

Where to spot them

Can be seen hunting in a wide range of habitats, including gardens and parks, woodland and farmland. It can be found even in urban areas. Soprano pipistrelles can also be found in urban areas but prefer staying closer to freshwater.

They love hunting up and down ‘corridors’, including woodland rides, woodland edges, hedgerows, quiet roads and waterways.


When to spot them

This bat hibernates from around mid-October onwards and emerges around March-April.

They usually emerge from their roost 20 minutes after sunset and forage for about 2 hours before returning to the roost.


Welcoming pipstrelles to your wild patch

Encourage pipstrelles into your garden during and after the Great Yorkshire Creature Count with the following top tips!

1) Give them a home

Put up a bat box! On buildings, put the box as close to the eaves as possible. You can also put them on trees. In general, bat boxes should be installed at least 4 m above the ground to minimise predation by cats, and in a sheltered, sunny location (usually facing in a southerly direction). Ideally situate boxes near hedges and lines of trees which bats use for hunting and navigating.

2) Attract their prey

Plant night-scented flowers to attract moths and other night-flying pollinating insects that pipistrelles will eat

3) For science!

You can become a citizen scientist and count bats for the Bat Conservation Trust’s National Bat Monitoring Programme to help inform bat conservation work.

Children of the night...

Common pipistrelle © Amy Lewis

Pipistrelle populations have more than halved since the 1960s, and many other British bat species have also declined dramatically.

Other important threats include the loss of roosting sites due to conversion and demolition of old buildings, predation by cats, artificial lighting (which can disrupt bats’ body clocks and actively deter bats) and poisoning by chemicals used to treat building materials.

Encouragingly, populations of common pipistrelle and other British bat species have made a partial recovery in recent years, but there is still a long way to go to reverse long-term declines.