Greater Horseshoe Bat
When to see:
These magnificient creatures are resident all year round and roost in the extensive limestone cave systems here at the reserve. Berry Head is an internationally important site for this protected species. During the coldest parts of the year the bats retreat further in to these systems to 'hibernate' searching for the optimum temperature to do this. At Berry Head we also have a maternity roost which, during the summer months, houses the pregnant females and then latterly their nursing young.
Where to see:
As the greater horseshoe bat receives the highest level of wildlife protection we request that the public either view the bat in the warmth of the visitor centre via the bat cam or join us for one of our ranger led Bat Walks during the summer. This way we can ensure that we can protect this rare species and it can continue its delicate recovery from near extinction. More information on the bat is housed in the Artillery Store at the end of the headland.
Did you know?:
- It is one of our largest species of bat with a wingspan of upto 18 inches and they can live for up to 30 years.
- Globally greater horseshoe bats are found in a narrow band from Western Europe across the Mediterranean, Turkey, Pakistan, above and below the Himalayas all the way through to Japan.
- Mating takes place in September once the females have stopped nursing that years offspring. The female then stores the semen within her until the following year, when the conditions are right she will then impregnate herself and become pregnant.
- The greater horseshoe bat is an indicator species for the wider countryside so if we know their numbers are increasing we know that the countryside is in good condition. The protection that the Berry Head colony receives allows the Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust to help protect green spaces across Torbay from unnecessary development ensuring that the public can continue to enjoy these places