One of Britainâ€™s largest bat species, the noctule bat, has made its first ever appearance in a Scottish bat box recently, sparking fears that global warming is now affecting Scottish wildlife. The first confirmed sighting of the noctule bat roosting in Scotland has been recorded on Scottish Wildlife Trustâ€™s (SWT) Roslin Glen reserve in Midlothian
Found by a member of the Lothian Bat Group during an annual bat box check, the discovery could indicate a northward movement of the bat species which may be the result of a gradual warming in Scotlandâ€™s climate.
Bat expert, Dr Stuart Smith of Lothian Bat Group explained: “We have been monitoring Roslin Glen for nearly 15 years and have only ever found Pipistrelles, a bat common to the Lothians, in the boxes. So finding a single female noctule bat in a bat box in Midlothian is quite unprecedented.
“Noctule bats have never been found roosting in the Lothians before, though there have been occasional sightings of them in the area during the last few years. It is too early to say for sure whether the species is moving northwards, but we will certainly continue to eagerly monitor their presence in the Lothians.”
Julian Warman, SWTâ€™s Reserve Manager for the South East, said: “It is widely accepted that many species are moving northwards, possibly due to climate change, so the discovery of the noctule bat at Roslin Glen is certainly food for thought. SWT has already seen changes in the make-up of species across many of our reserves.
“We have many bat boxes on our reserve, which are checked regularly by licensed bat workers. As noctule bats are one of the earliest bats to set off in the evening , it may even be possible to catch a glimpse of them at dusk, if we get more of them roosting on our reserve in the future.”
The noctule bat is one of the UKâ€™s largest bat species, which can grow to up to 88mm in body length. They are currently widespread across England, Wales, and south-west Scotland.