Saturday, May 10, 2008

Pipistrellus pipistrellus?

Another surprise outside the door this morning - mouse shaped. On closer inspection, this particular mouse had one sad little wing furled up beside it. Our resident assassin had subtracted a third or so from the whole, but the small snout, reddish-brown back and grey underbelly suggest that I am looking at Europe's most common bat, Pipistrellus pipistrellus, described by Schreber in 1774, with a home range from Ireland to Iraq.


Opening the tiny jaws, I found an array of sharp white teeth. Clearly a regular brusher. This mouth means business though - a night's hunting can account for 3,500 insects. The hunter is also the hunted, pursued by kestrels, owls - and particularly agile cats.

Sources: (i) A fresh corpse (ii) Exploring Irish Mammals, Tom Hayden and Rory Harrington

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