Lesser Horseshoe Bat

Rhinolophus hipposideros

  1. Wildlife
  2. Mammals
  3. Lesser Horseshoe Bat


Formerly cave-dwellers, Lesser Horseshoe Bats now tend to roost in buildings and roof spaces in large, old houses, stables and barns. All British bats are nocturnal, feeding on midges, moths and other flying insects which they find in the dark by using echolocation. Lesser Horseshoe Bats hibernate over the winter in caves, disused mines, tunnels and cellars.

How to identify

One of our smallest bats, the Lesser Horseshoe is the size of a plum. Like the Greater Horseshoe, it has a characteristic fleshy nose, shaped like a horseshoe. Its fur is grey-brown on its back and white underneath.

Where to find it

Rare; confined to Wales, western England and western Ireland.


When to find it

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

How can people help

Lesser Horseshoe Bats are rare in Britain; their decline is probably due to roost and nest disturbance as these bats are particularly sensitive. The Wildlife Trusts are working hard to restore habitats for bats and you can help in your own garden, too, by putting up a bat box. Pick a tree that gets some sun during the day, but is near to a hedge or other trees. All UK bats and their roosts are protected by law, which means it is illegal to harm or disturb them This needs swapping with below.

Species information

Common name
Lesser Horseshoe Bat
Latin name
Rhinolophus hipposideros
Length: 10cm Wingspan: 37cm Weight: 16-28g Average lifespan: up to 30 years
Conservation status
Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, and classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.