We studied seasonal variation in the use of winter roosts by five bat species (Eptesicus nilssonii, Myotis brandtii/mystacinus, Myotis daubentonii and Plecotus auritus) in south-east Finland during the winters of 2003/2004 and 2004/2005. At the beginning of the bat hibernation season all species used higher temperatures and humidity than by the season's end. Hibernacula were at their coldest in mid-hibernation season and became warmer towards the end of the season. However, no species hibernated in warmer locations at the end of the season than in mid-season. Results suggest that bats tend to use different strategies throughout the hibernation season, minimizing the cost of hibernation early in the season by hibernating in warmer locations and minimizing energy expenditure later in the season by hibernating in colder locations. M. brandtii/mystacinus were found in locations with stable temperature and humidity, moving to increasingly stable conditions (chambers, crevices, clusters, ceiling) towards spring. All other species hibernated in more variable microclimates throughout the hibernation season.
- Crevice occupation
- Seasonal variation