Rare bat discovered at Dudley Zoo

Staff at the Castle Hill attraction had an exciting discovery during their first overnight bat survey, recording a rare Lesser horseshoe bat – the first place in the West Midlands to do so.

Conservation Officer, Chris Leeson, joined seven members of The Birmingham and Black Country Bat Group, known as Brumbats, to survey the site’s off-show Big Ben Cavern. The group captured 25 bats altogether, including one young male Lesser horseshoe bat, which has never been recorded this far north in the UK before. Chris said:

“This native species is really difficult to catch as all other bats are quick flyers, but this one can slow right down and change direction to avoid our traps. We’ve managed to record their vocalisations in the past, but we’re really excited to finally catch one and confirm we have them living on site.”

Using specialist detecting equipment, Brumbats, which holds the licence to be able to carry out this research work, catch the bats in harp traps and mist nets before carrying out a number of checks including weight, size and sex, as well as taking mouth swabs for a DNA sample before letting them go.

A temporary chalk mark on their back leg also allows them to be easily identifiable if they’re recaptured the same evening. Chris added:

“Lesser horseshoe bats are quite prevalent in the south east of the country, but little is known about why they’re this far north, whether it’s down to people not recording them or are they being pushed this way because of climate change. Either way, it’s our job to preserve them.”

Dudley Zoo have been trapping and recording bats living in their two underground limestone quarry openings for the last two years and have identified nine different species. All their findings form part of a bigger project across the Black Country and Birmingham and their results are also being used towards a PhD course at the University of Wolverhampton.

You can find out more about the group’s work at urbanbatproject.co.uk.


Add a comment

Rating *

Recently Played


  • Available on the App Store
  • Available on Google Play

Useful Links


Travel News

How To Listen

Latest Podcasts

92.2 / 102.5 FM
'Play Black Country Radio'