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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 9:14 EDT

Common Noctule, Nyctalus noctula

The common noctule bat is commonly found in Europe, Asia, and North Africa. This bat has a body length of three inches with a wingspan of approximately 14 inches. It is the largest bat found in Europe. It commonly lives in forests but due to human growth there have been populations found in towns dwelling in buildings such as church steeples.

The common noctule starts to hunt and fly at dusk which is earlier than other members of the species. These bats fly at speeds up to 31 miles per hour and hunt in a radius of 12 miles from their chosen roosting place. Roosting places are usually hollow trees or bat boxes that humans have attached to trees. The common noctule prefers to eat beetles, moths, and winged ants.

This species of bat uses echolocation for two reasons: mating and hunting. The mating frequency is more of a shrill cry and lasts up to 11 milliseconds while the hunting frequency is a lower pitch and lasts for about 13 milliseconds.

Noctules hibernate in the winter months and since the trees are not warm enough they will find caves or church steeples. There are usually up to 1,000 bats hibernating per location. The winter locations and summer locations are generally 62 miles apart.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Chiroptera

Family: Vespertilionidae

Image Caption: Common noctule bat (Nytalus noctula). Credit: Mnolf/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Common Noctule Nyctalus noctula