Merry Christmas … and a batty New Year!

My friend Cath has a squadron (is that the collective noun?) of microbats under her house.

Microbats in the cellar rafters

There must have been a couple hundred of these little cuties all snuggled up together. I admit ignorance of the species – there are several possibilities.

They shelter there during the day and fly out at night to feed on insects. It was hard to tell how small they were as we didn’t get close, but each one looked to be about 6 cm or so.

We were very careful not to approach too close and to be quiet, but a couple decided to fly around – it’s astounding how fast and quietly they fly, unlike flying foxes which flap noisily. You see a flash of black but can’t hear anything as they zoom around.

Speaking of flying foxes, nearby at MacLean the flying fox colony looks healthy.

Part of the flying fox colony at MacLean

Some of these animals are quite boisterous even during the day. Others are snoozing peacefully. I hope you have a good year, batties!

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7 Responses to Merry Christmas … and a batty New Year!

  1. janebeauane says:

    I wonder if Sarah knows about the Maclean flying fox colony (?squadron?) I think they’re beautiful but have never seen a microbat. We have lots of species here but very secretive, not really seen near the city or suburbs. Pity. Great insect controllers.

    • Joy Window says:

      They may be there but just not noticed by people. I had some living in a hanging ornament (a terracotta bat, of all things) on my back deck and didn’t notice them except by chance. Blink and you miss them.

  2. peonyden says:

    Good to see the Micro Bats all cosy like that.
    There are bat specialists, but I am not one of them.
    Some people have equipment for recording and analysing calls and identifying them that way.
    Flying Foxes are at risk from public hysteria (especially in Qld, pre their State Election) to do with the Hendra Virus.
    Ignorant politicians wish to cull them.
    Lets hope that doesn’t happen.
    Denis

    • Joy Window says:

      And not just politicians. The colony at Maclean is just across the road from a school, and some bats roost in trees in the school grounds. There are moves afoot to get rid of them. I also hope it doesn’t happen.

  3. There’s a fungus that has shown up in eastern states here in the US & is killing bats in record numbers (http://www.fws.gov/northeast/pdf/white-nosefaqs.pdf). I think it is confined to N America (let’s hope it doesn’t go wider!). I’m concerned it will spread out west, where I live.

    I hope your bats are safe from both the hysteria and the fungus!

    • Cath Clrak says:

      The microbats are safe so long as I live in my home. Makes the underhouse a bit smelly & unusual, but I think I have fewer mozzies than other neighbors. They are so sweet, I miss them when they go elsewhere in winter.

    • Joy Window says:

      I read about that fungus in New Scientist – awful. What with the frogs disappearing and the Tasmanian devils losing 80% of their number from facial tumour disease, it’s pretty grim.
      Microbats don’t have much hysteria associated with them, thank goodness, as they are much less obvious, less smelly and don’t carry any diseases that can transmit to humans – that we know about yet! It’s interesting that domestic dogs and cats carry diseases that can transmit to humans (one reason why dogs are banned from many public parks, and toxoplasmosis is a common infection in cats that can transmit to people). I guess the ‘cute’ factor protects them from the wrath of humans.

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