The Maghrebian Mouse-eared Bat is known in Maltese as Il-Farfett il-Lejl Widnet il-Ġurdien. Although, it is a cave-dwelling bat it has also been found roosting in World War II shelters, catacombs and human habitation.
The Magrebian Mouse-eared Bat is one of the largest species of bats in Malta, having a wingspan of 30 to 40 cm. It is smooth-faced and has ears which are lance-shaped. Its dorsal side is light brown, whilst is ventral is white. Like all bats it is capable of flight, which is enabled by a thin elastic membrane, forming wings.
Bats are exceptionally vulnerable to extinction due to their low reproduction rate, with the female normally only bearing one offspring per year! Unfortunately they also face a number of threats, including disturbance and vandal acts in roosting sites and nurseries, increased use of pesticides, and eviction from buildings.
According to a report carried out by MEPA in connection with Malta’s obligations under the EC Habitats Directive, the Maghrebian Mouse-eared bat is deemed to have an unfavourable conservation status. In order to enhance such status, MEPA has designated a number of Natura 2000 sites which afford protection to the habitats important for bats. It is crucial to note that bats have been protected under Maltese Law since 1993, such that it is illegal to disturb, capture, kill, keep, sell or trade such unique flying mammals.