Grey long-eared bat

Plecotus austriacus

  1. Wildlife
  2. Mammals
  3. Grey long-eared bat


Grey long-eared bats are a southern European species and consequently are very rare in the UK which is at the northern edge of its range. They emerge from roosts when it’s dark to forage on moths, flies and small beetles. The grey long-eared bats forage in open spaces using echolocation to locate they prey.

How to identify

A medium-sized grey bat with big ears almost as long as its body. At rest the ears may be curled back or tucked away so are not always visible. Their faces are darker than the similar brown long-eared bat.

Where to find it

A very rare bat which is only found in selected areas in southern England. Long-eared bats found further north are more likely to be the brown long-eared bats which are much more common and widespread in the UK. Grey long-eared bats often roost in roofs of older houses and overwinter in roofs or underground in places such as caves, mines and cellars.


When to find it

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

How can people help

Its decline is linked to the loss of lowland unimproved grassland which is the main foraging habitat for this species, pesticide use which decreases their insect prey and insecticide use to treat timber in their roosts. The Wildlife Trusts are working hard to restore our native habitats and you can help our bats 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
Grey long-eared bat
Latin name
Plecotus austriacus
Length: 41-58mm Wingspan: 255-300mm Weight: 7-12g Average lifespan: 5 years for males and 9 years for females
Conservation status
Least concern but all bats are protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.