The greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) is one of the larger species of UK bats, approximately the size of a small pear.
This bat is only found in the southwest of England and Wales, the New Forest being on its eastern boundary.
Nursery roosts are found in the attics of old buildings, with the males leaving upon the birth of offspring in mid-summer. Adult females tend to be solitary in winter, returning to the same roost site each year. The greater horseshoe bat’s emergence time is approximately 25 minutes after sunset.
The bat has a distinctive horseshoe-shaped ‘nose-leaf’ which sets it apart from most of our other bats. Its primary prey are moths and beetles.
It is estimated that the population has declined by approximately 90% in the last 100 years and the greater horseshoe bat is now listed in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan as one of the rarest mammal species found in the UK. The loss of roost sites and feeding areas are the largest threats to the greater horseshoe bat.