> Greater mouse-eared bat
A large sized bat with a long snout and big ears. Its hair is brown or brown-reddish, being very light in the abdomen, where it can be almost white. This is the largest cave-dwelling bat found in Portugal.
Behaviour and reproduction:
The births occur during a period of 3 to 5 weeks in each colony and begin in the end of March or during April. Females have only one offspring per year, which begins to fly at an age of five weeks. In Portugal around 95% of females breed successfully in the first autumn of their life.
Greater mouse-eared bats use the sounds made by the movement of their prey to locate and capture them. They feed on crickets, beetles and spiders.
They occupy almost exclusively abandoned mines and caves as roosts during their annual life cycle. They capture their prey on the ground of open habitats with sparse herbaceous and shrubby vegetation, often in agricultural areas with pasture fields.
It is found in central and southern Europe below the northern limit of the Baltic Sea, reaching from the Iberian Peninsula until east in Poland, Ukraine and Turkey. This species is common in every region of continental Portugal, except in Algarve, where there are no recent records.
The conservation of the Greater mouse-eared bat depends on the maintenance and non-disturbance of subterranean roosts, where they hibernate and reproduce. Being a species that uses sound to locate and approach its prey, it is very sensitive to the increase of noise in the feeding areas, particularly those next to roads.
It presents the conservation status of "Vulnerable" (Cabral et al., 2005), in the Vertebrates Red Book of Portugal and belongs to Annex II and IV of the Habitats Directive.