The lesser horseshoe bat at the Cadair Idris Visitor Centre

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Visitors to Cadair Idris Visitor Centre and Ty Te Cadair Tea Room, are lucky enough to get an usual treat when they call in during the summer months. For the building is home to a rare type of bat, the lesser horseshoe bat, and live images of their activities are sent to a screen in the centre using infrared cameras.

These elusive animals get their name from the horseshoe-shaped flap of skin around their noses. During the winter they hibernate in old buildings and mines, but in late April the females gather in the roof of the visitor centre to form a maternity colony, foraging in the woodlands, hedgerows and river gorges for gnats, small moths and flies.

Lesser Horseshoe Bat

The building is a natural home for them as it is relatively draft proof and stays at a constant temperature. On warm days staff at the centre report seeing a great many of them, flying around the roof space, stretching their impressive wings and hanging upside down by their toes.

Lesser Horseshoe batOf the sixteen species found in the UK, only the lesser horseshoe bat and the greater horseshoe bat sleep hanging free by their feet. Most species cling on with their thumbs and fingers too.

Other bats are encouraged to the building, and bat boxes have been incorporated into the timber cladding and stonework, and these are used mainly by pipistrelle bats.

There is lots of information about bats and other mountain wildlife and vegetation as well as the geology of Cadair Idris available at the centre. Open 10-5, 7 days a week during school holidays. Seasonal opening at other times.

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