Tayside and Central Scotland

Rare albino bat spotted in Angus

Albino bat Image copyright Brian Whyte
Image caption The bat was spotted flying around during daylight hours

An extremely rare albino bat has been captured on camera in Angus.

It was spotted by Brian Whyte who filmed it swooping around and clinging briefly to a wall in his garden in Monikie in September.

The significance of the footage only came to light when he sent the pictures to Tayside Bat Group earlier this week.

There are thought to have been only six or seven sightings of albino bats previously in the UK. Experts believe this one is a pipistrelle bat.

Dr Amanda Wilson, chairwoman of Tayside Bat Group, said she was "very excited" by the find.

"We haven't spotted one before as a bat group and we've been going for 30 years, so it's very rare," Dr Wilson told BBC Scotland.

"We do get quite excited about bats anyway, but when something like this happens, we're very excited."

Albinism is a genetic condition, so there could be other albino bats in the area.

Daylight flying

Mr Whyte said he had been sitting in his living room when he noticed the white bat flying around and went outside to film it.

"It was almost tame. It seemed to be fluttering about and it looked a bit tired - it just kept landing. I thought it was a bit unusual."

A friend suggested he get in touch with the Tayside Bat Group.

Dr Wilson said it was unusual to see bats flying around in broad daylight, but said the mammal could have been "confused".

Many bats in the UK are now beginning to hibernate, so it is unlikely the albino bat will make another appearance this year.

Dr Wilson said she was hoping to go to Monikie next summer to see if she could spot the bat, but warned that its white colour could make it more vulnerable.

"The chances of survival are lower than normal. Because of its lighter colour it's more likely to be attacked by a cat or an owl. Pipistrelles can live for 16 years, but this one isn't likely to," she said.

Albinism is the absence of any pigmentation or colouration and results in white hair and pink eyes when seen in mammals.

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