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Numerous different species of bats exist in Portugal and many live in caves. It demonstrates their great ecological importance, in so far as that each animal has the capacity to consume half of it’s body weight in insects, which on the average weigh only 20g each, depending on the specie. Their impact on the ecosystem is of very great importance, when we realise that in the whole country the various species consume each day many thousands of tons of food.
Bats like to live in grottos and other dark and humid places, such as old mine galleries for two important reasons: One is to hibernate and two is to reproduce, occupying equally these places during the two intermediate periods. The bats choose different cavities for different purposes, depending on humidity and temperature. During the year the temperature in the caves and mine galleries vary very little. As far as humidity is concerned, this could vary a lot, not during the year as such, but in each cave. Therefore the bats select the more humid caves for hibernation, because this way they loose less liquid whilst breathing. Outside the hibernation period, they prefer locations where they sleep and exit at night to go feeding.


Rhinolophus mehelyi