A freezing wet night (yes it has finally rained!!) accompanied by hail saw a small but dedicated group gather in the Scout hall at the Kinglake Recreation Reserve to listen to a guest speaker at the Kinglake Landcare meeting. A real bat man, Rob Gration shared his knowledge of gliders, possums and bats in the Kinglake Ranges Region.
Some fascinating bat facts from Rob’s presentation;
- Of 19 microbat species in Victoria, 13 can be found around Tourrorong Reservoir near Whittlesea.
- Bats catch their insect prey by using their tail like a baseball glove and then transferring the victim to their mouth. The exception is the Large- footed Myotis, which has feet with claws developed so that it can grasp small fish from water.
- The White Striped Freetail bat is the only microbat in Victoria that has an echo – location voice audible to the human ear.
- The Common Bentwing is actually not that common. The female of this species leaves the Ranges and travels to a maternity cave in Gippsland to give birth. How they navigate is yet to be known. These bats roost in caves and the 2009 fires have reduced the numbers found in one site monitored in the Kinglake area. The density of the regrowth over the cave entrance may be a factor in their ability to access their traditional roost.
- Bats emit their echo location voice so loudly (120 decibels) that their ears have muscles that act simultaneously with their voice to stifle their hearing, so they don’t deafen themselves.
- The onset of the cool nights means we are not likely to see microbats until the spring. Bats are able to regulate their metabolism and enter torpor. When a warmer night occurs they arte able re-activate and fly off for a feed and a drink before returning to their roost and entering the state of torpor again.
- ‘Blind as a bat’ – a bit of a Furphy; some bats have extremely good eyesight.
For more about bats/pictures, type ‘bats’ in the search panel on this blog page or go to http://ausbats.org.au