Lesser horseshoe bat species found on Isle of Man for first time

A tiny rare bat species has been recorded on the Isle of Man for the first time.

The lesser horseshoe bat, which measures just 1.7in (4.5cm), was found in a cellar in the south of the island, the Manx Bat Group (MBG) confirmed.

It is the second new species to be found on the island in recent years after a Nathusius’ pipistrelle was spotted in 2018.

Kevin Wells of the MBG described the discovery as “extremely exciting”.

In total, the lesser horseshoe bat has become the ninth species of the mammal to be recorded on the island.

There are 18 species known to be native to the UK.

Generally found in Wales and parts of west England and Ireland, the population has recovered in recent decades after it suffered a dramatic decline, according to the Irish organisation the Vincent Wildlife Trust.

It is among the smallest mammals in Great Britain and weighs under 10 grams.

A suspected sighting was made on the island in 2006, two miles from the site of the recent discovery, but it flew away before it could be verified.

In the latest discovery, DNA testing on droppings in the domestic cellar verified the existence of the species.

A spokesman for the MBG said it would carry out “further fieldwork” to establish if a resident population of the bats exists on the Isle of Man.