Countryfile Magazine - - Bats -

A bat’s life cy­cle is very much dic­tated by the weather. Along with dormice and hedge­hogs, they are the only British mam­mals to hi­ber­nate, typ­i­cally emerg­ing in early spring when they move be­tween dif­fer­ent roost sites. Al­though they mate in the au­tumn, fe­males can store the sperm over win­ter, and in May start to form ma­ter­nity colonies. Un­like other small mam­mals, bats are long-lived, with a life­span of 30 years not un­com­mon. This is one of the rea­sons they pro­duce just one pup, un­like a mouse, for in­stance, which breeds pro­lif­i­cally to com­pen­sate for its short life. Males spend most of their time liv­ing in their own smaller, bach­e­lor roosts un­til the mat­ing sea­son be­gins. Over au­tumn bats build up their fat re­serves be­fore find­ing a good site to over-win­ter when tem­per­a­tures drop. As well as churches and old build­ings, caves and mine shafts are pop­u­lar.

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