The main actors of the “Bat of the Year 2024-2025 in Romania” voting are horseshoe bats. They are the ones who emit ultrasounds through their very special noses. There are five horseshoe bat species in Romania, three of them are competing for the title of Bat of the Year 2024-2025 in Romania:

The Lesser Horseshoe bat

The smallest of the bunch

The Mediterranean Horseshoe bat

Who loves warm climate

The Greater Horseshoe bat

The biggest of the bunch

Voting closes on the 11th of February at 23:59 and the winner will be announced on the 12th. Voting takes place also on our Facebook and Instagram pages, with votes from all sources being taken into account to determine the winner.

Before voting, however, you can read about each species and explore their photo galleries. Or jump straight to voting.

The Lesser Horseshoe bat

The smallest of the bunch

The lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros) with its weight of 4-7 grams, is not only the smallest among horseshoe bats, but also one of the smallest bat species in Romania. Despite its small size, it emits ultrasounds of the highest frequency among the country’s species, between 108-114 kHz. It is often observed underground, but does not form large colonies here. The species prefers to hunt for insects in deciduous and mixed forests, on forest edges, wooded pastures and orchards.

In winter, you can encounter the species frequently in caves, mines and cellars. The largest hibernation population of Romania is in the Grădiștea Muncelului – Cioclovina Nature, consisting of more than 1.000 bats hibernating in four nearby caves. In warm seasons, lesser horseshoe bats use attics, where temperatures usually exceed 30°C. It is in these spaces that females form maternity colonies. The largest maternity colony of the species in Romania consists of around 100-150 females.

The species is strictly protected and included in national and European legislation. The biggest threat to colonies is the restoration of those buildings that provide roost for females during the maternity period in summer. If the presence of bats is not taken into account during restorations (in the sense of preserving the original elements of the attic), the colony may fragment into smaller ones, and can also lead to an increase in mortality among pups.

The Mediterranean Horseshoe bat

Who loves warm climate

The mediterranean horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus euryale) prefers regions with warmer temperatures, and hence is present around the Mediterranean Sea. In Romania, colonies consisting of a few hundred and thousand bats are known in the karstic regions of Banat, Transylvania and Dobrogea. This species hunts for insects in deciduous forests, waterside forests, and avoids open areas.

In winter, they form large colonies in caves and mines. At least one Romanian colony is among the largest in Europe, a hibernating colony of more than 5.000 bats in a cave of the Platoul Mehedinți Geopark. Another hibernation colony of continental importance consists of 1.500+ bats in a cave of the Domogled – Valea Cernei National Park. Summer (nursery) colonies are mixed with females of other species and can occur both in caves or buildings.

The main threats to the species are the conversion of underground habitats (caves) for touristic purposes, and the disturbance of colonies in these sites in winter and summer. In addition, the nursery colonies in attics are also threatened by building restorations that do not take into account the presence of bats.

The Greater Horseshoe bat

The biggest of the bunch

The greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum), with its wingspan of almost 40 cm is one of the largest bat species in Romania and Europe. Often found underground, in Romania we know of several colonies consisting of a few hundred, rarely over a thousand bats. They hunt for insects in deciduous forests, over pastures and groves, their flight is slow and close to the ground or vegetation.

The greater horseshoe bat uses caves and mine galleries for hibernation, but during nursery season females gather also in attics. At the European level, several of the largest hibernation colonies of the species are located in Romania. For example, a cave in the Semenic – Cheile Carașului National Park is home a colony of more than 1.600 bats. On the southern slopes of the Parâng Mountains a cave is home to a hibernation colony of more than 1.500 bats. The largest nursery colonies of the species consist of 300-400 females.

Romanian colonies of the species are connected to Hungarian and Serbian colonies via migration routes through the Crișuri Plains and the lower areas of the Banat region. The proof of migration from Banat to Serbia was provided by our organization’s most recent project from 2020-2023. Tens of greater horseshoe bats with Serbian rings were observed in a series of caves from the Semenic – Cheile Carașului National Park, Cheile Nerei – Beușnița National Park and Iron Gate Nature Park.

Threats to the species include the fragmentation of its habitat, intensive logging in deciduous forests and, as with other species, disturbance of colonies during hibernation, as well as inadequate restoration of building lofts.

Select your favorite and vote Bat of the year 2024-2025 in Romania!!

This poll has ended (since 21 days).

Starting in 2020, we also introduced the European system, in which the Bat of the Year is chosen for 2 consecutive years. Currently, at the European level, the Greater Mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis) is Bat of the Year 2024-2025, chosen by BatLife Europe.