Greater Horseshoe Bat

Rhinolophus ferrumequinum

  1. Wildlife
  2. Mammals
  3. Greater Horseshoe Bat


Formerly cave-dwellers, Greater Horseshoe Bats now tend to roost in buildings and roof spaces in large, old houses, churches and barns. All British bats are nocturnal, feeding on midges, moths and other flying insects which they find in the dark by using echolocation. Greater Horseshoe Bats hibernate over the winter in caves, disused mines, tunnels and cellars.

How to identify

One of our largest bats, the Greater Horseshoe is the size of a small pear. It has a characteristic fleshy nose, shaped like a horseshoe. Its fur is reddish-brown on its back and cream underneath.

Where to find it

South West England and South Wales.


When to find it

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

How can people help

Greater Horseshoe Bats are rare in Britain: it's thought they have declined by 90 % in the last 100 years. This decline is probably due to roost and nest disturbance as these bats are particularly sensitive. The Wildlife Trusts are working hard to restore habitats for bats and you can help in your own garden, too, by putting up a bat box. Pick a tree that gets some sun during the day, but is near to a hedge or other trees. All UK bats and their roosts are protected by law, which means it is illegal to harm or disturb them.

Species information

Common name
Greater Horseshoe Bat
Latin name
Rhinolophus ferrumequinum
Length: 7cm Wingspan: 20cm Weight: 4-10g Average lifespan: up to 30 years
Conservation status
Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, and classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.