Lesser-horseshoe bat
Rhinolophus hipposideros
Cru-ialtóg bheag

This little bat occupies a westerly range throughout Britain and Ireland. In Ireland most are found west of the Shannon and in Munster. Throughout its range it is local and is regarded as something of an endangered species.

In summer it occupies roof-spaces with large open attics - particularly those of castles and undisturbed buildings in rural areas. In winter it moves to caves, mine shafts and souterrains. Here it can be seen hibernating, hanging by its feet from the roof with its wings wrapped tightly round its body Dracula style! Most underground passages hold only a few but in some places dozens are found. They are very vulnerable during hibernation and may not survive repeated disturbance.

At close range identification is easy due to the horseshoe shaped face leaf (which is, in fact, part of the echo-location equipment of the animal). There is no 'tragus' (central lobe inside the ear) as in other bats. The body is golf-ball sized and furry, brownish above and light brownish below. The flight dimensions are: wing span 10in. (25cm); width 23/4in. (7cm).