Bat Facts

Bats have existed for at least 55 million years.

Bats can consume half their body weight in insects per night during the warmer/summer months. Pregnant bats can consume up to their entire body weight in insects per night in the warmer/summer months.

Microbats go into ‘torpor’ during the cooler/colder months from approximately May to August.

Flying-foxes do not go into torpor so need to feed and drink all year around.

Bats must not be disturbed when in ‘torpor’/hibernation as they can lose their energy/fat supply which has been stored/built-up ready for the winter, resulting in the eventual death of the bats.

Microbats are our most environmentally-friendly pest exterminators feeding on many mosquitoes, beetles, flies, moths, and many, many more insects.

Flying-foxes are one of our essential night pollinators and long-distance ‘native tree’ planters/foresters.

Bats generally live to between 5-10 years but can live up to 20 – 30 years.  A small Myotis Fishing Bat has been recorded living approximately 41 years!!  (Susan Barnard – Bats in Captivity Volume)

Bats can hang upside down by their feet, with little effort. It takes more effort for a bat to release the tendons in its feet to fly away.

The word ‘Chiroptera’ – the Order of Bats – means ‘hand-wing’. Microchiroptera (sub-order) relates to our microbats. Megachiroptera (sub-order) relates to our megabats, for example, the Flying Foxes/Fruit/Blossom Bats.

Bats have incredible membranes in between their elongated fingers. They do have a thumb and four fingers.

Bats have varying tails, for example, a tail which is enclosed fully within the membrane like the Gould’s Wattled Bat. The Yellow-Bellied Sheathtail Bat has half its tail enclosed in the tail membrane. The White-Striped Freetail Bat and the Southern Freetail Bat have a ‘free-tail’ with minimal tail membrane. The Flying Foxes have no tail.

The rare Ghost Bat can be viewed at the Adelaide Zoo. These Ghost Bats are part of the Australasian Regional Zoos Program. The Adelaide Zoo has had reasonable success with breeding Ghost Bats, and have bred 17 individuals in the past 10 years.

The most commonly ‘heard’ bats around Adelaide are the White-Striped Freetail Bat and the Yellow-Bellied Sheathtail Bat (due to humans only being able to hear at approximately 20khz and below).

The most commonly ‘rescued’ bats are the Gould’s Wattled Bat, the Lesser Long-eared Bat, the Southern Freetail Bat, the Chocolate Wattled Bat.

Bats are placental mammals giving birth to live pups/young just like humans do and only have 1-2 babies per year if that!  Twins are common in some species of Microbats.

There are presently 8 common species, 6 rare species and 1 endangered species.  Information source by Terry Reardon.  A Listing is available for download shortly.