Latin name: Plecotus auritus
weight: 4.5 to 12 grams
wingspan: 24 to 28.5 cm
Its name says it all: the common or brown long-eared bat has large ears – they can be 3 to 4 cm in length, which is more than half of the bat’s body. The common long-eared bat is a medium-sized bat and has relatively wide and long wings. Because the fur on the spine of the common long-eared bat is brownish yellow in colour, it is also known as the brown long-eared bat.
The sound the common long-eared bat makes depends on the environment they are in. In general, they use soft, short FM pulses of 80-18 kHz. In more open areas, they use FM-qcf pulses of 60-12 kHz, which switch to a short qcf range between 25 and 12 kHz. Long-eared bats ‘whisper’ during the hunt, ‘hover’, and circle around leaves and twigs. In doing so, they also emit loud ‘pops’ of 42-12 kHz with a pulse duration of 7 milliseconds.
In summer, common long-eared bats are often found in buildings: in attics, behind panelling, cornices, and window shutters, in cavity walls, and under tiles, but also in hollows and crevices in trees (as is the case within Tapijn), and in nesting and bat boxes. They usually form relatively small groups of 5 to 25 animals with a maximum of 80 animals.
During winter, common long-eared bats prefer to stay underground, for example, in caves, limestone quarries, old brickworks, bunkers, fortresses, fortifications, ice cellars, and (castle) cellars. Hibernation lasts from October/November to March/April. But just like the common pipistrelle, the common long-eared bat is not a regular hibernator.
The winter quarters of the common long-eared bat are usually located in the immediate vicinity of their summer quarters (a maximum of 50 km away).
Common long-eared bats hunt in the immediate vicinity of their habitat, up to a maximum distance of 3 km. They follow hedges and wooded banks, but they also fly through the trees, especially in forests or small-scale landscape. The hunting flight of the common long-eared bat is slow and agile, close to or through the vegetation. In addition, they can hover in once place; this way, they can even eat insects from leaves.
Different species of moths are able to hear the sounds bats make when using echolocation. In response, the moths drop to the ground. To prevent this, bats use very soft echolocation sounds (‘whispering’). They discover their prey not only through echolocation, but also by using their eyes and by listening to the rustling sound that prey makes. Sometimes, they land on the ground to snatch up prey from the grass.