Pipistrelle Bat by Amy Lewis

Common Pipistrelle

Pipistrellus pipistrellus

Key Facts

  • Length: 3-5cm Weight: 3-8g
  • Wingspan: 20cm
  • Average lifespan: 4-5 years

The Common Pipistrelle is our smallest and most common bat. All British bats are nocturnal, feeding on midges, moths and other flying insects which they find in the dark by using echolocation.

Pipistrelles often roost in the roof spaces of houses and can often be seen in gardens or feeding on insects around street lights at dusk. Pipistrelles hibernate over winter, usually between November and April, although they may come out to feed on warm days.

How to Identify

Pipistrelles have dark, golden-brown fur, a slightly paler underside and a darker mask around the face. Their flight is rapid with lots of twists and turns.

Where to Find

Widespread, found throughout the country, only absent from Shetland and parts of Orkney.

What People can do

Pipistrelles and other bats are declining as roost sites are lost to development and pesticide-use reduces their insect-prey. But you can help our bats in your own garden; why not try putting up a Bat box? Pick a tree that gets some sun during the day, but is near to a hedge or other trees. Planting night-flowering plants that attract invertebrates can also be helpful and you can get more information on species to choose from the Wildlife Trusts Wildlife Gardening book. All UK bats and their roosts are protected by law, which means it is illegal to harm or disturb them.

Did you know?

It was recently discovered that there are actually two species of Pipistrelle Bat – Common and Soprano – both grouped as Pipistrellus pipistrellus. They are distinguished by the different frequency of their echolocation calls. The Common Pipistrelle is one of our smallest mammals; it’s so small it can fit into a matchbox. But despite its size, it can easily eat 3,000 midges and insects a night.

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