I used to see one microbat that would hang upside down at night from the roof around our entertainment area outside. I would see it on and off for a couple of weeks and then it would disappear. Occasionally I would get one that flew inside, and I would have to shoo it outside.
A few months later, I was showing my father-in-law the cows and horses over the fence. My daughter heard an odd noise and climbed up on the timber part of the fence near the big gate to get a closer look. She peered into the hollow at the top of the fence and leapt back and said “Oooh gross… rats”.
Immediately I jumped up knowing full well they wouldn’t be rats in a fencepost. I was hoping it would be a microbat family. So had a look and, yes, there were all these tiny bodies squashed all together. A large family of around 15 microbats all piled into the end of the log.
It’s a rather strange home for them to pick seeing as it was open to the elements, sun and rain from the top. They were there for a few nights, and then they were gone. I’m hoping to install some nest boxes so I can encourage them back to eat all my bugs.
Nicky and Khan Tait
Land for Wildlife members
The Bluff, Ipswich
Photos by Nicky Tait
Microbat expert, Dr Scott Burnett, provided the following feedback on Nicky’s photos.
These bats seem to have large feet like microbats in the genus Myotis, but the ears, tragus (a structure near the entrance of the ear canal) and the exposed roosting site are not consistent with Myotis bats. The habitat doesn’t look any good for microbats in the genus Vespadelus as they don’t like wide-open spaces. Therefore, we think that they are broad-nosed bats, genus Scotorepens, but it would be good to record some calls to confirm identification.
The Ipswich City Council Land for Wildlife team have already installed wildlife acoustic recording devices on an adjacent property and are planning on installing some on Nicky and Khan’s property in the near future. Hopefully the calls will help work out the identification of the microbats. Nicky and Khan will also be receiving some microbat nest boxes to provide more roosting options for their bats.