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The Bechstein’s bat (Myotis bechsteinii) is exceptionally rare and is sometimes called ‘the rarest mammal in Europe’.

It is found in southern parts of England and Wales and, since 2006, four Bechstein’s breeding colonies have been found across the New Forest. Bat box surveys undertaken by Hampshire Bat Group are ongoing in areas that are likely have Bechstein’s.

The bat is part of the Myotis bat genus and almost exclusively relies on woodland for hibernation, roosting and foraging. It prefers oak and beech roost sites and makes the most of holes excavated by woodpeckers. It feeds on most types of insects, including dung flies, grasshoppers and nut weevils.

Large-scale loss of mature deciduous woodland is thought to have significantly affected population numbers. Bechstein’s is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan species, meaning it is a priority on both a local and national scale.

How you can help

How can you help

Sign up to take part in a National Bat Monitoring Programme survey to help monitor species and numbers.

Lead Ranger


'To help ground nesting birds rear their young safely, keep yourself, dogs and ridden horses on the main tracks from the beginning of March to the end of August.'

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