Lesser Horseshoe Bat Horseshoe bats have a horseshoe-shaped fleshy structure called a nose-leaf surrounding the nose, which amplifies the ultrasonic calls that the bat emits when searching for food. Life span The maximum recorded age was 21 years. Statistics Body length: 3.5-3.9cm, Wingspan: 22-25cm, Weight: 4-9.4g.
Physical Description Horseshoe bats have a fleshy structure called a nose-leaf surrounding the nose, which amplifies the ultrasonic calls that the bat emits when searching for food. They also have two other muscular structures on the face - the lancet and the sella, which aid in echolocation. Lesser horseshoe bats are very similar in appearance to greater horseshoes, but they are smaller, and the fur is relatively longer and does not have a red hue.
Distribution They range across Europe and North Africa. They have become extinct in northern England and the north midlands over the last 50 years. Habitat Lesser horseshoe bats inhabit open country and partially wooded areas, with suitable roosting sites (caves, buildings, disused mines and sewers). Diet They fly close to the ground when hunting, using echolocation to detect prey, and then picking invertebrates off branches and stones. They feed on mosquitoes, gnats, craneflies, lacewings, moths, beetles and spiders.
Behaviour Lesser horseshoe bats hibernate in caves, tunnels and cellars from September to April. There may be up to 500 animals in a roost, but they tend to hang a short distance away from their neighbours. The average temperature within a hibernaculum is 6-7 degrees Celsius. They tend to use different roosts in the winter (for hibernation) and in the summer (for breeding), unless the site has a range of temperature choices. Horseshoe bats wrap their wings around their bodies as they roost. They are relatively skilful and fast fliers.
Reproduction Lesser horseshoe bats mate in the autumn and move to nurseries to give birth in April. The nurseries are sometimes shared with other species of bat including the greater mouse-eared bat and Geoffroy's bat in mainland Europe. Most of the young are born in June and July. The young are weaned after 6-7 weeks and leave the nurseries in August to October. Lesser horseshoe bats are listed as Vulnerable by the 2000 IUCN Red List. They have become extinct in much of their former range. They are sensitive to disturbance and destruction of their roosts, and the use of insecticides (which kill their prey) has further led to their decline.
Mouse Eared Bat The Name "Bat": "Bat" comes from Old Norse "ledhrblaka," "leather flapper." It became "bakka" and then "bat." Description: A heavily built, small bat with simple nose; moderately long, leathery ears and long, round-tipped, simple tragus (ear flap); fairly long tail with only extreme cartilaginous tip free of tail membrane. Fur short, brown dorsally, grayish white beneath. Length of head and body up to 3.2 in, forearm about 2.4 in; weight up to 1.4 oz. Location: Central and southern Europe. Habitat: Nearly all situations.
Grey Eared Bat DESCRIPTION The Grey Long Eared Bat is so similar to the Brown Long Eared Bat that it was only in 1960 that it was recognized that the two species were different. It is similar in appearance and in behaviour to its close relative, although it is more likely to have a slightly greyer coat colour. However this cannot be relied upon to differentiate between the two species. Competition between the two species seems to rarely occur, as they are not normally found living together in the same areas. The Grey Long Eared Bat is a medium sized bat with dark grey or brown fur. The face being darker. Ears are large with over 20 transverse folds. The tragus is large. Its flight is similar to the brown long eared bats.
HABITAT The Grey Long Eared Bat is a woodland living species, but hunts in much less densely wooded areas than the Brown Long Eared Bat. It is also happy in cultivated areas. Its preference for warmth means it commonly roosts in people's homes. Winter roosts are in caves or tunnels. During hibernation it prefers temperatures of 2 to 9 centigrade. LIFESPAN - usually 7 to 8 years. DISTRIBUTION- In Britain it is only found in the Southwest, mainly within the counties of Devon, Hampshire and Dorset. It is not as common as the Brown Long Eared bat, but numbers may be increasing. In continental Europe it is more common and has a wide distribution, although it is nor found in northern parts.
BREEDING - Mating occurs in autumn. Young are born in nursery roosts containing between 10 and 30 females in June. Similar to the Brown Long Eared Bat. BEHAVIOUR - It emerges fairly late to hunt. Hibernates September to March.
Pipistrelle Bat Pipistrelle Bat: Pipistrellus pipistrellus Size : Length : 3-5cm (head and body) Wingspan : 19-25cm Weight : 3-9g Life-span : Average life is 4-5 years. Maximum life-span recorded is 11 years. Distribution : British Isles and continental Europe (except the far north), south west Asia, north-eastwards to Korea and Japan and east to Kashmir, and also Morocco. Food : A wide variety of small, flying insects. Habitat : A wide range of habitats, including mature woodlands, wetlands, grasslands, farms, parks and gardens. Prefers open grassy areas surrounded by trees or bushes. Often seen flying low over water.
Description: A tiny body, short legs, broad flat head; short, broad ears, fairly narrow wings and a short tail. Adults vary in colour from place to place, some colonies are mainly orange-brown and others mainly pale grey-brown. Ears and muzzle are dark. The pipistrelle is the smallest and most common of Britain's 14 species of bat. It belongs to the Vespertilionidae family of bats, known as ordinary or earlet bats, and appears earlier in the evening than most other bats. It has a jerky, erratic flight, flickering its wings rapidly as it pursues its prey. The jerky flight of the pipistrelle gave rise to the ancient name for bats - flittermouse (Fledermaus in German).
Weasels are mammals in the genus Mustela of the Mustelidae family. Originally, the name "weasel" was applied to one species of the genus, the European form of the Least Weasel (Mustela nivalis). Early literary references to weasels, for example their common appearances in fables, refer to this species rather than to the genus as a whole, reflecting what is still the common usage in the United Kingdom. In technical discourse, however, as in American usage, the term "weasel" can refer to any member of the genus, or to the genus as a whole. Of the 16 extant species currently classified in the genus Mustela, ten have "weasel" in their common name. Among those that do not are the stoat or ermine, the two species of mink, and the polecats or ferrets. Weasel
Weasels vary in length from fifteen to thirty-five centimeters (six to fourteen inches), and usually have a light brown upper coat, white belly and black fur at the tip of the tail; in many species, populations living at high latitudes moult to a white coat with black fur at the tip of the tail in winter. They have long slender bodies, which enable them to follow their prey into burrows. Their tails are typically almost as long as the rest of their bodies. As is typical of small carnivores, weasels have a reputation for cleverness and guile. They also have tails that can be anywhere from 22-33 cm long and they use these to defend the food they get and to claim territory from other weasels.
Weasels feed on small mammals, and in former times were considered vermin since some species took poultry from farms, or rabbits from commercial warrens. Certain species of weasel and ferrets, have been reported to perform the mesmerizing weasel war dance, after fighting other creatures, or acquiring food from competing creatures. In folklore at least, this dance is particularly associated with the stoat.
Vagrant Hedgehog QANFUD) 20-25cm (+ tail 2.5 - 4cm). Head with pointed snout, small round ears and a body-covering of rigid, spiny hairs parted over the head. Acute sense of hearing and smell. Nocturnal. Feeds on snails, slugs, insects, worms and small vertebrates such as frogs and lizards. Does not hibernate, but not active at temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius. Gestation lasts just over a month. Litter of 2-4 young between May and October. Common.
Painted Frog ZRING) 7cm. The only Maltese amphibian. Colour very variable: olive-green, grey, yellow or brown, sometimes reddish, with darker, pale-bordered markings. Pale stripe sometimes present on the back; ventral surface always whitish. Found in localities where fresh water is present, whether flowing or stagnant. Prefers shallow pools in valleys, and water reservoirs, where it rests in the water leaving the head above the surface. In summer it lies concealed in damp places. Lays around 500 eggs in a layer held together by a gelatinous covering. Egg-mass often becomes attached to vegetation, stones or the sides or bottom of the pool. Each egg grows to a diameter of about 4mm before hatching. Young (tadpoles) have a long tail and do not resemble adult. Tadpoles spend 5-8 weeks in the water, breathing through gills. In time, lungs develop, enabling them to breathe air. Hind legs develop before forelegs. Tail shortens and eventually disappears. Diet also changes gradually from vegetable matter to insects and other small animals. Common.
Maltese Fresh Water Crab The Maltese freshwater crab is endemic to certain areas within the Maltese Islands. This subspecies of crab is very rare and its numbers have been decreasing in recent years. General features The Maltese freshwater crab (known as the Qabru in Maltese) is a decapod (a crustacean with 10 legs). It can grow up to 8 cm (in width). It is greenish-grey with some orange-yellow patches occasionally. Habitat The Maltese freshwater crab is found where freshwater/running water is present throughout the year although it does live near pools and springs too. It is found in Imtaħleb, Baħrija and San Martin in Malta and in Lunzjata Valley in Gozo . When threatened, the crab takes shelter by hiding under rocks or stones in the water and among vegetation, or by entering the burrows it digs. These burrows are dug in mud or clay and can be more than 50 cm deep. Part of the burrow is normally flooded
Food The Maltese freshwater crab is carnivorous and feeds on other smaller animals such as tadpoles. It usually feeds after sunset. Population Sadly, the numbers of this freshwater crab are steadily declining as a result of pollution of water, drying up of streams and because of its capture by humans