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Wild Animals/Mediterranean Horseshoe Bat

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Question
Hi Jonathan,
My name is Lovleen and I am in grade 3 researching all about the Mediterranean Horseshoe Bat. I have had difficulty finding information about their life cycle, defenses and what are its enemies....greatest threats.
I hope you can help.
Lovleen

Answer
Dear Lovleen

Thank you for your question. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used:

Life cycle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediterranean_horseshoe_bat says that nurseries normally hold 50-400 females, sometimes with some males. http://www.arkive.org/mediterranean-horseshoe-bat/rhinolophus-euryale/ says breeding typically occurs in late spring, with individual bats beginning to gather in breeding colonies from mid-March to early June. A single young is born after a gestation of around 7 weeks. The mother feeds her young on milk from her teats and has 2 additional teat-like projections, called ‘dummy teats’, to which the young clings while its mother is flying. The young bat can fly after around 3 weeks and becomes sexually mature after 2 years.
Defences: http://www.wildlifeonline.me.uk/bats.html says that when bats roost in large numbers in inaccessible places, they obtain some protection from predators. Wings provide little defence against predators and bats cannot use their sharp claws for kicking or scratching while at rest, so it is better to roost in places that are difficult for predators to access. An alert bat can bite with its sharp teeth and can use echolocation to determine if there are any large, moving objects that could pose a threat.
Enemies: This information came from http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Rhinolophidae/#predation: Possible predators of Mediterranean horseshoe bats include owls and other birds of prey, many carnivores, other bats, snakes, and other opportunistic vertebrate scavengers that encounter an injured or juvenile bat. Bats are probably most vulnerable to predators while they roost or as they emerge in the evening to forage. Some predators, such as snakes or hawks, may wait near cave entrances at dusk, attacking bats as they emerge; I doubt if this happens for the Mediterranean horseshoe bat.
Threats: http://www.arkive.org/mediterranean-horseshoe-bat/rhinolophus-euryale/ says the main threats seem to be the loss of the bat's foraging habitats and disturbance to its underground habitats. The bat is very sensitive to disturbance. Human activities such as urbanisation, tourism and intensive farming probably exacerbate the problem, especially when they occur within or close to areas the bat needs for roosting, foraging, breeding or hibernating. The bat is also threatened by fragmentation of its habitat, as the bat seems to need continuous linear features, such as hedges or strips of riparian vegetation, to commute between foraging patches. Using pesticides negatively affects the bat.

I hope this helps.

All the best

Jonathan

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Jonathan Wright

Expertise

I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.

Experience

I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

Organizations
WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Publications
Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

Education/Credentials
BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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