• Need help now? National Bat Helpline: 0345 1300 228
 

Home / Brandt’s bat

Myotis brandtii

Description and identification

Brandt’s bat is very similar in appearance to the whiskered bat (and to Alcathoe bat); in fact the former two species were only separated in 1970. Genetic testing of the two species showed that although of similar appearance they are not closely related to each other but share a closer relationship with other Myotis species30. Records from before 1970 could therefore relate to either species and even today records are often referred to as whiskered/Brandt’s in the Nottinghamshire bat database; unless the bat was closely examined in the hand or has been identified by DNA analysis of droppings. Like the whiskered bat they have dark brown fur on the upperparts but this can become golden-tipped in older animals. Their ears and tragus are slightly lighter in colour than those of the whiskered bat.

As with all Myotis bats the echolocation call of Brandt’s bat is broadband and of short duration and in most cases it is indistinguishable from other similar species.

Status and distribution

Due to the difficulties of distinguishing the WAB bats from each other, there is a high probability of error in identification, which may be masking differences in range between whiskered and Brandt’s bats. At present the safest option is to say that the distribution range is likely to be similar to the whiskered bat. In Nottinghamshire, Brandt’s bat was formerly considered to be much rarer than the whiskered bat but since the advent of more detailed surveys i.e. trapping and DNA analysis of droppings, this may not be the case at all.

Roosts

Brandt’s bat forms maternity colonies of 20-60 females in holes in trees or behind loose bark. They will also use several features within buildings including roof voids, ridges, crevices in timber beams and behind cladding. Males, as with the majority of UK species, generally roost alone. Both sexes hibernate in cool humid sites such as tunnels, bridges, stone buildings and caves.

Roosts have been found in Nottinghamshire in buildings (including a purpose made bat loft above a bird hide) and in old trees.

Food and foraging

Brandt’s bat typically prefers woodlands which are linked to wetland habitats. It hunts for small flying insects such as moths, midges, crane-flies and other Diptera (fly) species. They will hunt over water in a similar manner to Daubenton’s bat but will usually be higher above the surface. They will also glean non-flying invertebrate species from foliage.