Myotis daubentonii (Daubenton's bat)

Daubenton’s bat is a medium-sized bat species, sometimes known as the water bat or hairy footed bat.

It has a steady flight, and often flies within a few centimetres of the water surface - reminiscent of a small hovercraft.  

It feeds on small flies including chironomid midges, caddisflies and mayflies.

The bats roost in tunnels and bridges close to canals and sometimes in stone buildings, such as old waterworks.

They usually feed within 6km of the roost, but have been recorded following canals for 10km - flying at speeds of up to 25kph.

They usually take insects from close to the water and sometimes directly from the water surface - using their large feet as a gaff, or the tail membrane as a scoop.

Species detail

  • Daubenton’s bat

    Daubenton’s bats often roost with other bat species. Discover where they like to roost.

  • Daubenton’s bat on glove

    Daubenton’s bats can live for up to 22 years. Find out more about their breeding habits, and the characteristic bat call.

  • Daubenton’s bat

    Despite changes to the bat’s habitat, numbers of Myotis daubentonii are increasing in some places. Find out how insect numbers are likely to affect the species in the future.


Myotis daubentonii

Daubenton’s bat on glove.

© Bat Conservation Trust, Hugh Clark
Myotis daubentonii

Myotis daubentonii (Daubenton’s bat).

© Natural History Museum, London
Myotis daubentonii

Myotis daubentonii (Daubenton's bat).

© Bat Conservation Trust, Hugh Clark

Heather McFarlane
Communications and Development Manager
Bat Conservation Trust

A word from the author

"Daubenton's bat is a fantastic animal that lives alongside us but most people don't realise they can see them in their neighbourhood. At this time of year these spectacular hunters can be found scooping up insects over canals, ponds, rivers and lakes up and down the country in cities and in the countryside. I can't think of a better way to celebrate European Bat Weekend than to head to your nearest waterway at dusk and see if you can spot them in action!"

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