Pipistrelles are the smallest and commonest bat in the UK.
The maximum recorded age is 16 years.
Body length: 3.5-4.5cm, Wingspan: 19-25cm, Weight: 3-8g.
Pipistrelles are the smallest European bats. They have dark red/brown fur on their backs and yellow/brown undersides. The ears, nose and wing membranes are black/brown.
Common pipistrelles are distributed over most of Europe, including the whole of the UK, minus a few remote offshore islands.
They occupy a variety of habitats, including open woodland, parks, marshes, farmland and urban areas.
Pipistrelles emerge from their roosts to feed relatively early - sometimes before sunset. They hunt small moths, gnats and other small insects, often returning to their roost after a couple of hours, although they may emerge for another feed during the night. A single pipistrelle may consume up to 3,000 insects in one night.
In the summer they tend to roost in buildings, bat boxes and trees. In the winter they also use trees and buildings, as well as large churches and cellars. They hibernate from mid-November to the beginning of April. They are rapid, agile fliers, flying about 5-10m above the ground.
Males defend their own territories from other males during the mating season (August to September). Females visit these mating roosts, and one male can have a harem of up to 10 females.
The young are born in June/July, and although they usually only produce one infant in the UK, in central Europe they commonly have twins. Mothers recognise their young using smell and hearing. The young are able to fly after 3-4 weeks, and leave the roosts in August/September.
Pipistrelles are not threatened and are the commonest bat in the UK, but numbers have decreased over the past decade. They are not listed by the IUCN list of threatened species.
Scientists have recently recognised the soprano pipistrelle as a separate species to the common pipistrelle. It can only be reliably told apart from the common pipistrelle by its echolocation call which is on 55 kHz rather than 45kHz.