Bat Killed by Cat After Flying 1,200 Miles from London to Russia

A bat no bigger than a human thumb which had the strength to fly across Europe was unfortunately still no match for a cat.

The female Nathusius' pipistrelle bat had been injured by a feline when it was found by a resident of the village of Molgino in Russia's Pskov region on July 30.

Weighing only eight grams (0.3 oz) it was rescued by a Russian bat rehabilitation group but was unable to recover from the attack and died.

The animal's "London zoo" marking on its wing attested to a remarkable journey.

Brian Briggs, a bat recorder, had ringed the animal back in 2016 at Bedfont Lakes Country Park near Heathrow airport in west London.

When its British connection was established, the bat was reported to the U.K.'s Bat Conservation Trust which expressed amazement at its ability to fly more than 1,200 miles from U.K. capital.

"This is very exciting," Briggs said, according to a press release by the Bat Conservation Trust.

"It's great to be able to contribute to the international conservation work to protect these extraordinary animals."

It was the only recorded long distance movement by such a bat undertaken from west to east.

Most records have involved males flying south-west from Latvia and the only longer bat journey across the continent by a Nathusius' pipistrelle was in 2019 when a bat migrated from the Baltic country to Spain following a 1,382-mile flight.

"This is a remarkable journey and the longest one we know of any bat from Britain across Europe," said Lisa Worledge, the Trust's head of conservation services. "What an Olympian."

Bat experts have linked the increase in range of the species to climate change which is expected to further impact the animal.

Worledge said the journey might be able to offer answers to the puzzle of bat migration, saying in a statement, that the movements of the species around the U.K. and between the U.K. and Europe "remain largely mysterious."

A British Nathusius' pipistrelle project identified over 2,600 members of the species across the U.K with maternity colonies found in the English counties of Kent, Northumberland, Surrey, as well as Greater London.

Newsweek has contacted the Bat Conservation Trust for further comment.

While it showed considerable endurance, the distance the bat travelled is nothing compared with what is undertaken by the Arctic tern. It is believed to make the longest migration of any animal in the world—traveling 44,000 miles each year between Greenland and Antarctica.

A juvenile Pipistrelle bat
A juvenile Pipistrelle bat lays in a human hand at the Natural Museum History of Bourges, France, in this illustrative image. A nathusius Pipistrelle broke records when it flew 1,200 miles from London to Russia. GUILLAUME SOUVANT/Getty