A November house guest

I was putting my key into the door last night, when I heard an indignant chatter coming from the porch. On further investigation, I spotted this little pipistrelle bat tucked in between a timber and the wall of the house. This is a common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus), judging by the colouration, and was still quite active even though we are now into November. Bats go into torpor during the colder winter months, but the currently mild start to November means that temperatures are not too low and the bats are still finding insects to feed on.

This is the first time I have actually seen a bat in situ in the porch, although it is reguarly used as a feeding roost by a brown long-eared bat (as evidenced by the moth wings which appear on the doormat) and I have often suspected an occasional roost judging by patches between the timber and the wall which are suspiciously clear of cobwebs!

Different species of bats require different characteristics of their roosts, and the requirements of a species varies with time of year. For example, a common pipistrelle such as this will require stable, sheltered conditions for a hibernation roost; a larger roosting space where a maternity colony can gather during the summer season, and multiple smaller niches like this during the transitional periods of the spring and autumn. Pipistrelles are typically crevice dwellers, and the little space between the timber and the wall allows them to tuck themselves in safely.

pipistrelle bat in a roostI should note that disturbing and photographing bats requires a special licence from Natural England and should be avoided to ensure you do not cause unnecessary stress or disturbance to the bats. In this case, I was checking the roost as a Licenced Bat Worker and the photograph was taken as an incidental part of this check – without a flash and without causing any additional disturbance to the bat. Indeed, the photograph allowed me to confirm the ID without spending any more time lighting the bat than was necessary, and the record will be going to the Local Record Centre.

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