The season has arrived when you can vote for the Bat of 2022-2023 in Romania. The Barbastelle, which held this title in 2020-2021, is already in hibernation, either in caves or in hollow trees. Following the European model, where currently the brown long-eared bat is designated for 2 years, we invite you to vote for the Bat of 2022-2023 in Romania, designating a species from the three finalists:

Blasius’s horseshoe bat

An exclusive cave-dweller and the rarest Rhinolophus in Europe

Greater mouse-eared bat

With colonies that can be the oldest inhabitants of historic buildings

Gray long-eared bat

With gigantic ears and a preference for rural areas

Voting runs until January 31st midnight, and we’ll announce the winner on February 1st. Before voting, read in detail about the three species below.

Select your favorite and vote Bat of 2022-2023 in Romania!

This poll has ended (since 2 years).
Liliacul urecheat gri - Szürke hosszúfülű denevér - Gray long-eared bat - Plecotus austriacus
Liliacul cu potcoavă al lui Blasius - Blasius patkósdenevér - Blasius's horseshoe bat - Rhinolophus blasii
Liliacul comun - Közönséges denevér - Greater mouse-eared bat - Myotis myotis

Blasius’s horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus blasii)

An exclusive cave-dweller and the rarest Rhinolophus in Europe

The species is known only from like 11 underground locations in Romania (a country with over 12.000 caves), and with a total population in Europe of approx. 30.000 bats. Blasius’s horseshoe bat is vulnerable in Europe, and is the rarest species in the genus Rhinolophus, the very special horseshoe bats. An exclusive cave-dweller and sensitive species, it relies to a large extent on intact and protected karst areas. Colonies of the species use all year round only natural (caves, potholes) or anthropic underground locations (mine galleries). It prefers typical Mediterranean or sub-Mediterranean areas (even in Romania), hunting in a diverse habitat, which includes shrubland and open areas with trees.

Colonies of the species are in significant decline across Europe, with threats including cave tourism, colony disturbance, vandalism or abusive closure of caves. Feeding areas are severely affected by surface mining, the use of chemicals in agriculture and forestry, and the abandonment of traditional grazing and mowing practices.

Greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis)

With colonies that can be the oldest inhabitants of historic buildings

The greater mouse-eared bat is one of the largest bat species in Romania. It uses both underground locations (ex. caves, mine galleries) and buildings (ex. church towers or attics) to form colonies. These colonies may include tens, hundreds, or in exceptional cases thousands of bats. Being an anthropogenic species, colonies are often dozens, maybe over a hundred years in the same building. Thus, in a sense, they are the oldest inhabitants of historic buildings. And we could even consider these colonies as the “oldest members” in their respective communities.

But this is also the reason for the vulnerability of the species: nursery colonies (meaning female bats and their pups), located in the spacious attics of some buildings, are significantly affected by those renovation works, which do not take into account the principles of bat conservation. Entire populations depend only on the mercy of individuals or entities that undertake the renovation of these buildings. This is despite the fact that there are a number of methods that allow the preservation of the integrity of historical monuments, and the protection of resident colony. In addition, tourism in caves, especially in critical seasons, can in turn negatively affect local colonies. Thus it is necessary to apply the principles of a responsible speo-tourism.

Gray long-eared bat (Plecotus austriacus)

With gigantic ears and a preference for rural areas

The gray long-eared bat is attracted to diverse rural areas, with gardens and orchards, pastures and meadows, but also arable land. During the summer, the species forms small nursery colonies (max. a few dozen females) in the attics of buildings, and despite their huge ears, they quickly retreat between the beams at the sign of the slightest disturbance. The winter period finds them in underground locations, hibernating solitarily. Being a species that tolerates low temperatures very well, it can easily hibernate even in the entrance area of ​​caves, at temperatures close to 0 degrees Celsius. But in order not to freeze, their ears are folded under their forearm during hibernation.

Due to the use of the buildings as roosts, the colonies of the species can be severely affected by inadequate building renovations, including the treatment of wooden materials, that are toxic for bats. The gray long-eared bat is very faithful to the area of ​​residence, hunting only a few kilometers away from the building used as a roost. Thus, it may also be affected by the intensive use of pesticides and insecticides in horticulture and agriculture in the area of ​​residence.

If you read about the three species and made up your mind, jump back to the vote!