Environment

Sweden's Most Threatened Mammals

European Otters, European Rabbits, and three species of bats are among Sweden's most threatened mammals.

Sweden is located west of the Baltic Sea and forms the Scandinavian Peninsula. The country is separated from Norway by the Scandinavian Mountains Chain. Sweden’s 25 provinces or landscapes are based on the country’s geography, culture, and history. The southern part of the country is predominantly agricultural while the northern part is characterized by a forest cover. Sweden is home to a large portion of threatened species in Europe. The species in the country require greater action to improve their survival.

Sweden's Most Threatened Mammals

European Otter (Lutra lutra)

European Otter is an aquatic mammal which is native to Eurasia. It is mainly found in the waterways and coast of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The European Otter is a long slender creature which is well adapted to its aquatic habitat. It has a short neck and a broad visage, long tail and a great space between its ears. The female European Otter is shorter than the male. European Otter feeds mainly on fish supplementing it with insects, amphibians, and small mammals. The major threats to European Otter include pollution, habitat loss, and hunting.

Western Barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus)

Western Barbastelle is a type of European bat with small eyes, short nose, and wide ears. It is a rare mammal. In Norway, it was considered extinct only to be found in 2004 and 2008. Western Barbastelle roosts in splits or on the bark of a loose tree in deciduous woods. It moves between roosts with great frequency. Western Barbastelle has two main call types for echolocation with one call consuming more energy than the other. Western Barbastelle is protected under European Habitat Directive and as such acquiring it for whatever reason is illegal.

Bechstein's bat (Myotis bechsteinii)

Bechstein's bat is a vesper bat species found in Eurasia in an extensive area of woodland. It is a medium-sized long-eared bat. The fur covering the body of an adult Bechstein's bat is long and fluffy and is reddish-brown above and gray below. Its face is pinkish while the ears are long and broad. Its wings are brown and broad and are attached to the base of the feet. Bechstein's bat has adapted to catching moths and other nocturnal insects as part of its diet. Mating takes place in autumn while fertilization is delayed. Bechstein's bat is threatened by habitat loss.

Pond Bat (Myotis dasycneme)

Pond Bat is also a species of vesper bat found in Eurasia. It is a medium-sized bat with a thick, black-brown fur at the base and yellow-gray fur on the ventricle side. Pond Bat is an endangered species with a large decline in number within its range. It nests in lowland regions in areas with water. The female becomes sexually mature in the second year with mating taking place at the end of August. Pond Bat feeds on gnats, insects, and moths found on the surface of the water. It hunts during late dusk and sometimes early morning.

Major Threat

Sweden is home to over 75 species of mammals accounting for 31% of all mammals in Europe. 6% of all the mammals in Sweden are threatened. Some of the major threats to these mammals include habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation. Water pollution is also a major threat to mammals living in and near freshwater bodies. Water pollution is caused by agrochemicals and untreated sewage that is washed into the lakes or rivers.

Sweden's Most Threatened MammalsScientific Name
European Otter
Lutra lutra
Western Barbastelle
Barbastella barbastellus
Bechstein's Bat
Myotis bechsteinii
Pond Bat
Myotis dasycneme
European Rabbit
Oryctolagus cuniculus

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