There’s good news… and bad mews: Bat breaks record by flying 1,200 miles from London to Russia - only to end up being eaten by a cat

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A bat broke British records by flying more than 1,200 miles from London to Russia – then met a tragic end after being eaten by a cat.

The Nathusius’ pipistrelle, which made the 1,254-mile journey from London to west Russia, weighed a third of an ounce (8g) and was the size of a human thumb when she set off.

The bat, which was discovered in the small Russian village of Molgino, had been initially given a unique identifying ring back in 2016 at the Bedfont Lakes Country Park near Heathrow.

The bat had been found by a Russian animal rescue group on July 30 after she had been injured by a cat

Her trip marks one of the longest ever recorded migrations made from the UK and is likely to be one of the longest bat migrations ever undertaken globally.

The bat had been found by a Russian animal rescue group on July 30 after she had been injured by a cat. 

She died shortly afterwards. The group discovered her record-breaking journey only after finding a ring with ‘London Zoo’ written on it.

Lisa Worledge, head of conservation services at the Bat Conservation Trust, said: ‘This is a remarkable journey and the longest one we know of any bat from Britain across Europe. Projects pioneered by citizen scientists have helped to shed light on the migration pattern of these winged wonders.’

She added: ‘Thanks to the hard work of dedicated volunteers and researchers, we are beginning to understand the needs of this species and how to conserve them.’

Little is known about the migration patterns of Nathusius’ pipistrelle bats. Some are believed to migrate to Britain from eastern or western Europe for winter.


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This bat’s record is topped only by one other in Europe – a Nathusius’ pipistrelle that migrated all the way from Latvia to Spain in 2017 – a record-setting 1,382 miles.

The British bat was initially tagged in 2016 by bat recorder Brian Briggs.

He said: ‘This is very exciting. It’s great to be able to contribute to the international conservation work to protect these extraordinary animals and learn more about their fascinating lives.’

Experts in Russia and the UK are working together to understand more about this remarkably long voyage.

The Nathusius’ pipistrelle made the 1,254-mile journey from London to west Russia

The range expansion of Nathusius’ pipistrelle is linked to climate change with future temperature changes predicted to further affect the species. More data is essential to fully understand what the effects on these animals will be.

There have been more than 2,600 Nathusius’ pipistrelles recorded in the UK since a national project launched in 2014. It aims to shed light on their breeding, distribution and migration behaviours.

Colonies of the species of bat are known in Kent, Northumberland, Surrey and Greater London.

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