Canut's horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus canuti)

Canut's horseshoe bat head profile
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Canut's horseshoe bat fact file

Canut's horseshoe bat description

GenusRhinolophus (1)

Canut’s horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus canuti), like all horseshoe bats, is so-named for the horseshoe-shaped fold of skin that forms part of the noseleaf, a fleshy structure that surrounds the nose (3). Each horseshoe bat species can be identified by its characteristic noseleaf (4).

Canut’s horseshoe bat is a very little-known species, with scant published information available on its appearance. However, horseshoe bats in general range in colour from reddish-brown to black (5). They have small eyes, often obscured by their noseleaf, and large, highly mobile ears (4) (5), which are used in echolocation when navigating through forest and hunting. The wings of horseshoe bats are short and broad (5), providing great agility when pursuing prey (6).

Head-body length: c. 65 mm (2)
Tail length: c. 22 mm (2)

Canut's horseshoe bat biology

Although little is known about the elusive Canut’s horseshoe bat, much of its biology and ecology is likely to be similar to that of other horseshoe bats.

Horseshoe bats roost in caves, where they hang upside down (5). Leaving their roosts late at night (7), horseshoe bats hunt for a range of small prey, such as insects, spiders, snails and slugs. They are able to catch prey mid-flight or pluck it off the ground or foliage (3). They hunt not by sight (5), but by using their highly-developed echolocation skills (3).The distinctive horseshoe-shaped noseleaf directs sound produced by the bat’s nostrils to form a beam (3).The bat uses its large ears to detect reflected sound from this beam and build up an accurate picture of the objects around, thus pinpointing its prey (6).

Female horseshoe bats usually give birth to a single young after a gestation period of about seven weeks (5) (8). Interestingly, females can have ‘dummy’ teats that produce no milk, but are for their young to hold on to whilst they are in flight. Horseshoe bats generally live for six to seven years (5).                                         


Canut's horseshoe bat range

Canut’s horseshoe bat occurs in Indonesia, where it has been found at two locations on Java, at one location on Nusa Barong, and at one site on Bali. It is possibly also found on Timor, although this is believed by some to be a different species (1).

A recent survey on Java failed to find this species, meaning it is possibly now extinct on the island (1).


Canut's horseshoe bat habitat

Canut’s horseshoe bat roosts in caves and requires nearby tropical forest in which to forage, although it may sometimes also hunt over open farmland (1).


Canut's horseshoe bat status

Canut's horseshoe bat is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable


Canut's horseshoe bat threats

Deforestation, due to logging and expanding farmland, is the main threat to Canut’s horseshoe bat. Much of its forest habitat has already vanished on Java, which may be the reason why recent surveys there have not found any individuals. Human activity that disturbs roosting sites within caves also poses a threat to this endangered species (1)


Canut's horseshoe bat conservation

There are no known conservation measures currently in place for Canut’s horseshoe bat and it is not yet known whether any populations are found within protected areas. Further research on this little-known bat is clearly needed, particularly surveys to determine its true range and whether it still occurs on Java (1).


Find out more

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This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

This species information was authored as part of the Arkive and Universities Scheme.


Detecting objects by reflected sound. Used by bats and odontocete cetaceans (toothed whales, dolphins and porpoises) for orientation and to detect and locate prey.
The state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth.


  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2010)
  2. Oldfield Thomas, F.R.S. and Wroughton, R.C. (1909) On a collection of mammals from western Java presented to the National Museum by Mr. W. E. Balston. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 79(2): 371-393.
  3. Vaughan, T.A., Ryan, J.M. and Czaplewski, N.J. (2000) Mammalogy. Fourth Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia.
  4. Hill, J.E. and Smith, J.D. (1984) Bats: A Natural History. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.
  5. Nowak, R.M. (1999) Walker’s Mammals of the World. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
  6. Neuweiler, G. (2000) The Biology of Bats. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  7. Goodwin, G.C. (1964) Mammals. Ward Lock, London.
  8. Wilson, D.E. (1997) Bats in Question. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

Image credit

Canut's horseshoe bat head profile  
Canut's horseshoe bat head profile

© Sigit Wiantoro

Sigit Wiantoro
Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense
Research Center for Biology
Indonesian Institute of Sciences
Widyasatwaloka Building
Jl. Raya Jakarta-Bogor Km. 46
Cibinong 16911
Tel: +62 (21) 8765056


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