Tags: Native wildlife. Bats. Australian. Queensland. Bribie Island
There are two types of bats – Mega Bats and Micro Bats. Mega Bats are large and Micro Bats are small being 4-16 cm in length and weighing 3-150 grams and makeup about 70% of all bats. Just recently I was alerted to the fact that two Micro Bats had made their daytime home under a friend’s garden umbrella.
I carefully photographed them trying not to disturb them too much. They had brown fur and were about 9.5 cm in length which is rather large for a Micro Bat. They have been making their daily visits to the umbrella for about six weeks. We were unable to identify the Micro Bats from the photographs, so I sent the images to the Queensland Museum. They confirmed that these mammals were difficult to identify from photographs alone but thought they were Broadnosed Bats and what we thought was a tick on the neck was actually a Batfly which is a blind, wingless species of fly looking much like a spider.
Micro Bats are small warm-blooded, nocturnal mammals and may travel quite long distances and spend up to seven hours at night looking for food. Insects are their main source of food and these are caught on the wing. They are blessed with the normal six senses but have two more as a bonus with their extraordinary navigation skills and echolocation expertise being added assets.
They use their eyesight and their echolocation skills to detect their prey and find their way in the dark. Each night they consume about 50% of their body weight eating many of our insect pests. Bats are the only flying mammals in the world. They sleep during the day and can be found hanging upside down in caves, tunnels, hollow trees, under tree bark or anywhere it is dark and safe and in this case under a garden umbrella. They are unable to stand and must hang either upside down or hang from their thumbs. Most of their calls are so high pitched that they cannot be detected by the human ear.
Note the Batfly behind the ear.
Wings are hairless and transparent. Being a mammal, they give birth to a single baby and hang by their thumbs while birthing and toileting. The young feed on their mother’s milk. Generally, they live in colonies. The smallest Bat in the world is found in Thailand and weighs only two grams. There are about 1000 species of bats in the world with around 77 species in Australia and 43 of these are listed as threatened with many of the Micro Bat species on the list.
In Australia, there are around 60 different species of Micro Bats with SE Queensland hosting about 30 species. Feral cats, pythons, and owls are their main predators. Loss of habitat and disruption of roosting sites are added factors to the decline of some species. It is unwise to touch any Bat as some of them carry a virus which is very harmful to humans. If you find an injured Bat ring Wildcare Australia SEQ at 07 5527 2444 or Bat Conservation and Rescue Qld at 0488 228 134.