Betty’s Life Cycle
Females fatten up and give birth to a single pup – mums need large numbers of dung beetles near the roost so they can feed quickly and get back to suckle their pups.
Young pups take their first flights and start feeding on dung beetles, forcing their mums to feeding grounds further afield. Females start to leave the maternity roost as their pups grow up fast.
Mating season and solitary males with a territory now call for females to come. In busier places males show off their flying skills in aerial displays with their competitors. The best will get to mate.
A glut of craneflies is the last opportunity to fatten up for winter. Cold spells see the bats go into torpor – a deep sleep. Only when the temperature really drops will they hibernate again.
Greater horseshoes hibernate in caves and mines as there is little food about. To stay asleep they need a steady temperature of 7ºC to 12ºC with moist conditions so they don’t dry out.
Hungry bats head out to feed on moths and cockchafer beetles. Females now start to gestate (following delayed fertilisation of their eggs) and start moving towards their preferred maternity roost.