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Southern Bent-wing Bat
The Southern Bent-wing Bat (Miniopterus schreibersii bassanii) is a small insectivorous bat known to roost in caves near coastal cliffs in south western Victoria through to south eastern South Australia.
Listed as Critically Endangered, this microbat is increasingly under threat by human disturbance of roosting caves and foraging habitat. The range and abundance of this species has depleted significantly over the past three generations, however this decline is still not clearly understood. Thermal detectors are used to monitor population densities as the bats begin their annual migration to one of two known maternity caves, at Naracoorte in South Australia and Warrnambool in Victoria where the bats give birth to a single pup between October and January.
Bats have ultrasonic calls that are inaudible to the human ear, however can be identified using special bat detectors and by analysing their unique call sequences. Southern Bent-wing Bats spend their winters in torpor (a type of hibernation) across a range of 'wintering' caves from the Otways, to Warrnambool and Portland.
Saving the Southern Bent-wing Bat
Zoos Victoria is committed to securing a future for the Southern Bent-wing Bat. We are currently investigating the role we can play in improving the long-term viability of a self-sustaining wild population of this species.
Plans and publications
- Bent-wing Bats can be recognised by their distinct long third finger
- Bats make high frequency sounds that are inaudible to the human ear
- Southern Bent-wing Bats are awesome pest controllers, consuming at least half of their body weight in insects each night
- Tracking of a single bent-wing bat showed it travelled over 45km from its roosting cave each night to forage, using a known fight path.