A second sighting of a Geoffroy’s bat (myotis emarginatus), a species of vesper bat, has potentially been seen in Britain, this September at Brown’s Folly. The site is interesting in itself as there have been sightings of 13 of the 17 UK resident bat species; it is a site of Special Scientific Interests, with a high environmental value. Jim Mullholland of the Avon Bat Group sighted the bat along with his colleagues and they are now waiting for DNA analysis to confirm if they are indeed correct about their identification. Geoffrey’s Bat Sighting in Sussex The sighting before this was in 2012 by a Daniel Whitby in Sussex; however it is possible that surveyors have previously misidentified the Geoffroy’s bat as it can easily be confused with other bat species such as the Natterer’s bat.
Now that the word is spreading about the sightings, surveyors will know to look out for a particularly distinctive feature of the bat – the notch on its ears. Other features of the bat include its long, woolly like, reddish brown fur on its back and lighter fur underneath. The bat is usually found in continental Europe; however hopes are high that the Geoffroy’s bat could be a new resident UK species, this hope is largely generated from the location of the sightings.
The sightings have not been near the coast as one may presume a likely spot for a bat that usually dislikes travelling long, unnecessary distances – typically no further than 25 miles between its breeding area and hibernation site. James Mulloholland comments that this makes the Geoffroy’s bat “less likely to be a vagrant as it so far in-land.” Hopefully we will have more to report on the Geoffroy’s bat in the near future and in the mean-time let’s hope for further sightings this summer. Image Source: Bat Conservation Trust