There are twelve species of micro-bats on the Adelaide Plains and in the Hills, yet despite this, most are unknown due to their nocturnal habits.
These tiny mammals are about the size of a mouse and are active between dusk and dawn in the warmer weather and go into a type of hibernation over winter (May to August). They fly very fast so it is hard for our eyes to focus on them and often they are confused with swallows at dawn or dusk, as they fly around the lights of ovals, street lights or shopping centre carparks. It is possible to hear some species which make a tiny ‘tink tink’ sound. Some of these bats can travel up to 50km per evening in search of insects and this means that the bats from the Hills could forage the suburbs of Adelaide.
They are one of the best garden guardians in terms of eating pest insects as they can eat up to half of their body weight in insects a night and they love mosquitoes. This is reported to be equivalent to 1200 mosquitoes a night. Some species come down very close to the ground to catch their insects and would dine on aphids, caterpillars, beetles, moths, bugs, flying ants and midges, while others fly within the middle and upper canopies of trees to catch their insects. Microbats do not harm us but actually benefit us, so it is important to use avoid insecticides which harm the insects which the bats totally rely on for their survival. Keep your cats inside at night so they do not harm any microbats. While bats will generally get all the moisture they need out of their insect diet, they do appreciate bird baths and water bowls in time of drought.
Many live in tree hollows which are under threat, so installing a bat nesting box can help to attract them to your garden. Bats will also roost during the day under exfoliating bark of trees and in old sheds (under horse blankets and hessian bags), under timber piles and machinery, and also co-existing with us in our homes (without anyone of us knowing most of the time!). Please do not disturb or harm them. They cause very little damage, if any. They are sleeping for the day. They will be off at dusk in search of those pesky mosquitoes!
For more information on bats visit Adelaide Bat Care www.adelaidebatcare.com.au