Microbats

Less of a Garden Guest and more of a home invader, this little Eastern Long Eared Microbat was waiting for us when we came in from a chat over the fence ... he was dancing around under our ceiling fans which lead to a rapid - if slightly ungainly, ( I have the grace and athleticism of a Cane Toad climbing a wet PVC pipe..), scramble to switch the fans off before the bat was injured or killed.

This done it was then simply a question of waiting for him to find his way out. No doubt sensing our complacency, he promptly decided to do the exact opposite and fluttered into the spare room. After first testing the blinds for their roost suitability he finally deposited himself on the vent of the air conditioner and with a blaeful stare and a little nose twitching, let it be known that he was less than impressed with his new lodgings. He settled down however, presumably waiting for things to improve.


Eastern Long-eared Bat [Nyctophilus bifax]


Thus a game of Bat and mouse ensued. You would think that removing one tiny bat from a room would be a simple matter - and so it was, all I needed to do was grab the camera and attempt to take some decent shots - as any one who has ever tried to photograph an animal knows, they have an uncanny ability to move just as the shutter is depressed ... bats, I have found, are no exception.

He was off - out the bedroom, straight past the open door leading to the outside and with gleeful abandon and a little cheeky chirp the bat did a graceful banking right turn straight into my office. While I was bringing up the rear, cursing my camera and asking when the door I had just ricochet off had been installed... the little fellow had decided my motorcycle jacket made an excellent helipad and was busy sidling into its folds.

Obviously something had to be done. I didn't want to try and grab it - not so much out of fear of being bitten, but rather my concern was that I might injure the bat, they seem so delicate and my experience with them is limited to say the least ...

I glanced round - and spied my snake bag - too heavy and unwieldy in that situation ... then eureka!

Butterfly net!

If you're interested in the little things that share your world you no doubt own a butterfly net. Moreover, you will have used it for everything from tadpoles to dragonflies - the term 'butterfly net', while expedient - is, in my opinion, a grievous short selling of what must be one of the most valuable tools in any naturalists arsenal.

So armed I began what turned into a lesson in Bat aerobatics. I couldn't believe how lithe and manoeuvrable he was - eventually though and perhaps through sheer luck I managed to sweep him up and bring him down on some cushions. Gently I de-tangled him and checked him over for any damage - he was, to my relief absolutely unhurt - if somewhat indignant and made a great show of baring his needle sharp teeth throughout the whole process.





His brown/reddish fur was soft and looked slightly unkempt, as if he'd hurried from a shower on the way to work carelessly throwing hair gel in all directions. His dark little eyes glittered with rage at being handled and his membranous wings had the consistency of the finest kid leather - this little mammal absolutely blew my mind ... sadly though but before it became even more stressed I hurried him out the door, Jo grabbed a pic and he was released - no doubt a little put out, but with no harm done.

The Eastern Long-eared Bat is relatively common and isn't normally listed as endangered, it is though predated by bloody cats, so if you have a cat - keep it inside or sell it for something more useful - say a chocolate tea pot?

These bats are found throughout N.Qld and N.G and only weigh between 7-13 g. They are however important in that they probably eat many times their own body weight in insects every few nights.

Sadly, and thanks largely to the media, Bats get a fairly bad rap in Qld so it should be noted here that microbats pose absolutely no credible threat to the health of humans or their livestock - in-fact, it's the other way round - so if you happen to see a large moth slip by you on the deck some warm summer evening, take a closer look and you may just find you're lucky enough to be sharing space with some other truly remarkable creatures.

And finally, here's some neat little factoids you may not know:

Bat Facts

  • Bat young are called 'pups'
  • Bats always turn left when exiting a cave (I don't know how anyone knows this - but hey..)
  • Bats have been around for over 35 million years
  • Bats are more closely related to humans and other primates than they are to rodents
  • Bats are very clean animals, and groom themselves almost constantly [when not eating or sleeping] to keep their fur soft and clean


To find out more - go to the Bat Facts page

Bats - simply brilliant eh?

Comments

  1. Nice, informative blog, Crash
    D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mr. Smiley - I appreciate ya stopping by ... actually, I have a question for you ... so I'll pop over to your Bunyipco blog right now and ask it ...

      Delete

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